Ex-SSS commissioner Laguesma to return to role of labor secretary

This handout photo from the Department of Public Works and Highways shows a government job fair for the 'Build, Build, Build' program.
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MANILA, Philippines — Bienvenido Laguesma, a former commissioner of the Social Security System, will be returning to the Department of Labor and Employment that he headed during the Estrada administration, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who will be appointed executive secretary when top presidential vote-getter Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. takes office, made the announcement Monday as the incoming Marcos administration assembles its Cabinet.

Laguesma, a lawyer, was a commissioner of the SSS during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. He had also been named a member of the board of directors of the Aurora Park Economic Zone and Freeport Zone Authority (Apeco) in Casiguran.

According to a copy of his CV posted on the SSS website, he has also been a director of Philex Mining Corp.

Prior to his appointment as SSS commissioner, he was labor secretary from 1998 to 2001 and an undersecretary of the department from 1990 to 1996.

The former labor chief returns to the department as unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is falling but remained at 2.87 million Filipinos who were either jobless or unemployed in March. 

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Other appointments

Laguesma was one of the names floated last week by the Marcos camp, which has been sparing in its announcement of Cabinet appointees.

"They're both respected in the field of labor and employment and he (Marcos) asked them if they want to serve the government under the Marcos administration," Rodriguez told reporters last week, referring to Laguesma and migrant workers advocate Susan Ople.

Marcos, in a short briefing with the media on Monday, said he tapped an “old friend,” former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan to return to the National Economic and Development Authority, saying they have the same thinking in policies.

Earlier Monday, Rep. Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla (Cavite) said that he had accepted an offer to be justice secretary under Marcos.

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