Cabinet members, economic team joining the Marcos administration

Cabinet members, economic team joining the Marcos administration

In photo (clockwise from top left) are Vice President-elect Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, Benjamin E. Diokno, Arsenio M. Balisacan, Amenah F. Pangandaman, Felipe M. Medalla, and Alfredo E. Pascual. — Photos from facebook.com/DavaoCITYGOV, DBM | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, University of the Philippines | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, and facebook.com/DBMgovph

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who will be inaugurated as the 17th president of the Philippines today, has named certain appointees who will be part of the incoming administration.

So far, there are 25 names officially announced for the Marcos, Jr. Cabinet as of June 23. Most of the appointees are still subject to confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.

Vice President-elect Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, the outgoing mayor of Davao City and daughter of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, was announced to head the Department of Education last May 11. She has taken her oath as the 15th Vice-President of the Philippines last June 19 in Davao City.

On May 13, Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. was announced as the next Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. Mr. Abalos served as the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority from 2021 to 2022 and Marcos, Jr.’s campaign manager for the 2022 presidential elections.

Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, currently Cavite 7th District Representative, will be the next secretary of the Department of Justice, as announced last May 23.

Former Labor secretary Bienvenido “Benny” Laguesma, who served the department from 1998 to 2001 during the Estrada administration, was also announced to return and lead the Department of Labor and Employment.

Susan “Toots” Ople was assigned to head the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Ms. Ople was a Labor undersecretary under the Arroyo administration.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno will lead the Department of Finance, announced last May 26. Economist Felipe M. Medalla will be the next central bank governor.

Manuel “Manny” Bonoan, president and CEO of SMC Tollways, will lead the Department of Public Works and Highways, as also announced last May 26.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s incoming secretary will be Alfredo E. Pascual, president of the Management Association of the Philippines.

On May 30, BSP Assistant Governor Amenah F. Pangandaman accepted the President-elect’s invitation to be the next Department of Budget and Management secretary.

IT expert Ivan John Uy will be the incoming Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Television and radio broadcaster Erwin Tulfo was named by the President-elect to head the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Christina Frasco will be the next Department of Tourism secretary. The Liloan, Cebu mayor is also the spokesperson of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.

The incoming Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary is Abono Party-list representative Conrado Estrella III, as announced last June 8.

Retired Gen. Jose Faustino, Jr., former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was chosen to be the next Department of National Defense officer-in-charge.

Last June 20, President-elect Marcos, Jr. said he will be the Department of Agriculture chief “for now.”

Jaime Bautista was announced to be the next Department of Transportation (DoTr) secretary last June 23. He was the former president of Philippine Airlines.

Arsenio M. Balisacan will return to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who has served as the NEDA director-general and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary from 2012 to 2016 under the Aquino administration.

Outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra will be the next Solicitor General.

Retired Philippine National Police Deputy Director-General Ricardo de Leon was chosen to be the next director-general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

President-elect Marcos, Jr. chose his spokesperson Atty. Victor Rodriguez as his executive secretary. Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was announced to be the chief presidential legal counsel. Retired political science professor Clarita Carlos will serve as Marcos, Jr.’s national security adviser. Antonio “Anton” Lagdameo, Jr., former Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative, will be the Special Assistant to the President. Maria Zenaida Angping will head the Presidential Management Staff. Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles, a lawyer and vlogger, is chosen to be the next Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary.

The economic team

“The first priority is always going to be the economy. That’s why we have been very careful in choosing the economic team. It’s still down to jobs, the increasing prices of commodities, some relief for the business community. We have to streamline the operations of government,” Mr. Marcos was quoted saying in a May 27 BusinessWorld report.

The President-elect had a meeting with his economic team earlier this month — attended by incoming executive secretary Mr. Rodriguez, incoming Finance Secretary Mr. Diokno, incoming Budget Secretary Ms. Pangandaman, incoming Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Mr. Balisacan, incoming Labor Secretary Mr. Laguesma, and incoming Public Works and Highways Secretary Mr. Bonoan — to discuss “priorities” and gave orders with the aim for the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 9.5% in 2020 amid the pandemic, the Philippine economy improved by 5.7% in 2021 and posted an 8.3% growth in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Despite such growth, the country still faces external headwinds from growing world inflation, said S&P Global.

In addition, the government’s debt reached P12.76 trillion as of end-April, according to the Bureau of the Treasury. As of the end of the first quarter, the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is at 63.5%, which is over the 60% threshold that multilateral lenders deemed manageable for developing economies. — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio