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CA confirms new Cabinet appointees

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
CA confirms new Cabinet appointees
The Commission on Appointments confirmed yesterday the appointments of Conrado Estrella III as agrarian reform secretary, Ma. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga as environment secretary and Christina Frasco as tourism secretary, along with 63 generals and senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed yesterday President Marcos’ Cabinet appointees to the Departments of Tourism, Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources, as well as 63 generals and senior military officers.

Confirmed were Tourism Secretary Ma. Esperanza Christina Frasco, Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga and Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III.

While the confirmation hearings of the individual Cabinet officials and military officers were relatively quick, the entire CA proceedings, including in plenary, took over seven hours given the number of the appointees.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who chairs the CA, said the apparent cramming of appointees and promotions on the table of the bicameral body is in preparation for the congressional break starting next week.

Deferring their confirmation meant the officials are considered bypassed and Marcos would have to reappoint them when Congress resumes session next month, he said.

Zubiri issued the statement before the CA plenary after Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said the apparent cramming would prevent the members of the body from asking more questions to some officials, like Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan, who is scheduled to face them today.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who chairs the CA committee on environment, cited the experience and expertise of Loyzaga, who earlier declared that environment programs must be based on science.

Estrella, meanwhile, was quizzed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros on his plans to accelerate the distribution of land.

Estrella said there is an estimated 173,344 hectares “workable balance” of land for distribution but the figure could go up pending validation.

He also vowed “to bring government closer to the people.” His late grandfather, Conrado Estrella Sr., held the same post under the administration of former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Frasco told CA members that infrastructure improvements and development are key to boosting tourism to make it a top revenue earner for the country.

She said that one of the basic improvements is to put up clean and working rest rooms in tourism sites throughout the country.

Sen. Grace Poe backed Frasco’s plan to focus on improving facilities even as she suggested promoting the country as a go-to site for international film makers.

COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS

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