MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) On Friday, May 27, UP professor Judy Taguiwalo confirmed that the National Democratic Front (NDF) has nominated her to lead the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“I am honored to be nominated by the CPP/NDF to the post of Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. That an incoming president of the Philippines is extending his hand to the Left and inviting the latter to be part of government is a historic act,” Taguiwalo said in a Facebook post.
Taguiwalo is among the Cabinet nominees that NDF spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili submitted to Duterte when they met on Tuesday, May 24. Duterte had called the Left's list "impressive" but did not name the 10 nominees, 4 of them women.
Duterte had earlier offered 4 departments to the Left: Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The DOLE, however, is already off the table as Duterte has tapped former justice secretary Silvestre Bello III to head the agency.
Strong voice for women
If appointed, Taguiwalo could provide a strong voice for women in the Duterte administration. In her wide experience on social welfare and development – both in the academe and in her advocacy work – Taguiwalo paid special attention to the plight of Filipino women.
An activist since her college days, Taguiwalo helped organize the militant women's organization Malayang Kilusan ng Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), which seeks to uphold women's rights and further empower them.
Under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Taguiwalo was arrested twice and spent 3 years and 7 months in different military prisons.
Taguiwalo currently serves as a professor at the Department of Women and Development Studies, College of Social Work and Community Development in UP - Diliman. She served as the Faculty Regent in the state university from 2009-2010.
In 2009, the UP Alumni Association awarded her the Distinguished Alumni Award in Gender Equality/Women’s Empowerment for her advocacy on women’s equality.
Taguiwalo obtained her doctorate degree in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines and her master's degree in public administration at Carleton University in Canada. She also founded the All UP Academic Employees Union, the labor union of faculty and non-teaching academic personnel of the state university.
If appointed, Taguiwalo will succeed Corazon "Dinky" Soliman who lead the DSWD under the Aquino administration and part of the Arroyo administration.
The Left's candidates
Another possible secretary from the Left is Liza Masa.
Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors from Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar endorsed the nomination of Maza.
During her term as Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) representative, Maza was among the authors of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and a co-author of the Anti-Violence in Women and Children Act (Anti-VAWC) and the Juvenile Justice Act.
Fidel Agcaoili of the National Democratic Front - the Communist Party of the Philippines' political arm - stated that "the list of NDFP nominees are not necessarily members of the revolutionary movement (CPP, NPA and NDF) but are individuals who are known for their pro-poor and pro-people positions and are of proven integrity and competence."
The Duterte camp earlier announced that the incoming administration would have more women leaders, and even tapped Senator Pia Cayetano to help recommend and vet possible women appointees in the incoming administration.
So far, however, only one woman has been nominated to join the Duterte administration – former immigration chief Andrea Domingo as head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor). – Rappler.com
Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.