‘A potential trouble for calamity victims,’ People Surge says on Taguiwalo rejection by CA

The Commission on Appointments (CA) gets another flak from Yolanda survivors in Eastern Visayas after denying with finality the confirmation of Social Welfare chief-designate Judy Taguiwalo, who, they said, “was a vital partner in fighting for the rights of disaster victims in Eastern Visayas.”

People Surge members gather during the third Yolanda anniversary commemoration in Tacloban City. Source (c) People Surge facebook page

People Surge Disaster Survivors group, the 20,000-strong aggrupation of calamity victims formed after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) struck the Visayas in 2013, slams the CA for rejecting a government official they support for her “stellar track record, competence and compassion” for the poor and marginalized sectors.

Taguiwalo was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to head the Social Welfare Department (DSWD) after she was listed and endorsed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for being “progressive” with a good record of service since her stint as a student leader at the University of the Philippines.

In an interview by Eastern Vista with the former Secretary last year, Taguiwalo assured the public of a “meaningful change” in the Department. The survivors group expressed optimism over Taguiwalo’s appointment, an activist and social worker by training.


The group contrasts Taguiwalo to her predecessor, former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, who locked horns with People Surge over anomalies on the “slow distribution” of relief food packs and cash assistance.

With Taguiwalo at the helm of the agency, the Department has adopted a new guiding theme “Tunay na malasakit sa mahihirap. Maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo sa mamamayan” [Genuine compassion for the poor. Prompt and caring service for the people.]

In a visit to Leyte last year, during the third anniversary commemoration of Typhoon Yolanda, the Department through Taguiwalo has recognized the anomalous distribution of the Emergency Shelter Assistance for disaster victims in regions 6, 7, 8 and the Negros Island which prompted the Department to give additional 5,000 pesos as Presidential Financial Assistance (5KPFA).

“A large bulk of the supporters of Ka Judy’s appointment comes from Yolanda-hit areas in Eastern Visayas where she played a crucial role in reversing the harsh realities inflicted on disaster victims by the Aquino administration,” People Surge Secretary General Marissa Cabaljao said in a statement.
People Surge credited Taguiwalo role for “providing immediate relief to the victims of the recent Ormoc and Kananga quake which hit the region last month and plunged it into a 10-day power crisis…her timely intervention in the wake of the Marawi siege and the declaration of Martial Law.”

People Surge believes that with the rejection of Taguiwalo, the department will “once again be vulnerable to the politicking of bureaucrat-capitalists who put the selfish interest of businessmen and government officials above that of the people.”

“The decision of the CA to reject Ka Judy will have an impact on how the government will address the injustice Yolanda and other calamity victims face even to this day,” People Surge added.

DSWD Field Office 8 employees Black Friday protest after the CA rejected to confirm Judy Taguiwalo as DSWD Secretary. Source (c) Paula Unay via DSWD Field Office 08 facebook page

Meanwhile, in another action, the DSWD Regional Field Office employees in Tacloban City wore black in a Friday protest of the CA decision. They hope a new replacement to Judy’s post will tread along her path. Cabaljao also hopes that the department, as partner in the previous months, will continue to implement the good programs Taguiwalo had started.

Months before the fourth anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda, calamity victims still seek reparation and justice for the “negligence suffered during the previous Aquino administration.”#

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Eastern Vista

Eastern Vista is an alternative media organization in Eastern Visayas. Stories of people in the struggle for justice and aid after super typhoon Yolanda inspired its creation in 2014. Eastern Vista is also a co-producer of Lingganay han Kamatuoran, a Waray-based radio magazine program airing since 2003. From Eastern Philippines, Eastern Vista shares the news and views from a people rising.