More Muslims, women? Duterte gov’t to be well-represented

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Minorities, including Muslims and indigenous peoples, as well as women will be well represented in government under the administration of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.

Spokesman Peter Laviña gave the assurance yesterday as the Duterte transition team continued its vetting process for individuals who would compose the new Cabinet and key government offices. 

The transition team is expected to come out with names before the outgoing Davao City mayor’s swearing in as the country’s 16th chief executive on June 30.

“We want more women in government and representation from marginalized sectors, Muslims, IPs (indigenous people), civil society, which most often are not given enough opportunities to serve in the highest echelons of government,” Laviña said.

He said they are receiving nominations and suggestions for various Cabinet positions and other high government posts.

“Our work is to make sure that we identify, vet and recommend the best qualified for the various jobs to help the new president,” Laviña said.

He stressed the careful vetting process was aimed at ensuring an all inclusive government structure is put in place.

“We shall not be truly democratic if we will not live up to the truism that ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” he added.

Laviña declined to disclose the number of nominations they have received or the names of potential Cabinet members, as he is “not at liberty to reveal.”

“The names were submitted, some may not be interested while some may reject the offers. We are still checking and double checking,” he said.

But he said they came from all over the country and some even from abroad and many are professionals, businessmen, retired military and police officers.

He said that they would also tap people from the academe, local government units, civil society and development agencies.

Asked to comment on reports that former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro was among those being eyed as Duterte’s foreign secretary, Laviña only replied, “His name came out in the newspapers.”

Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher Go said that they have not yet decided if Teodoro would be taken in as Cabinet member.

Laviña stressed that while everyone would have to go through the selection process, it’s Duterte who would have the final say.

He also revealed the transition team has not met yet with the current administration’s own transition team.

A source said people have been jockeying for positions in the incoming administration, with some resorting to credit grabbing to get Duterte’s attention.

“They are all here. It has come to a point that certain groups have been quarreling, grabbing credit that they were responsible for Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s winning the May 9 elections,” a source close to Duterte told The STAR.

“And there are even those who already brought with them their proposals for contracts for certain government projects,” the source said.

Duterte himself was nowhere to be found at the Marco Polo Hotel where applicants came in droves to meet with members of the transition team yesterday.

Duterte earlier asked for a week-long break after the grueling 90-day campaign.

He is set to meet well wishers and supporters tomorrow in Davao City.

In Davao City, Sen. Loren Legarda said she and a number of women’s groups welcomed what they called a gender-sensitive approach to governance by the incoming administration. - With Aurea Calica

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