SummaryDuring the presidential campaign, and even after, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was repeatedly portrayed by his opponents and the media as being a potential dictator. His choices for his cabinet belie these allegations for the variety of opinions and ideologies that are being expressed.
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Among the dissenting voices in his official family is that of Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, the in-coming Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. In contrast to the hardline stance of Duterte against criminals and his very vocal push to reinstate the death penalty, Sec. Taguiwalo is staunchly pro life.
“In general, I’m against extrajudicial killings. I think that’s part of what we have fought for during the martial law resistance. Extra-judicial killings are not acceptable because it can happen to anyone.”
Despite this fundamental difference in opinions between the President and some in his cabinet, the Duterte administration remains unified in its desire to provide better governance for the Filipino people and uphold the rule of law in its war against criminality. A stance that Duterte himself has repeatedly made.
As head of the DSWD, Taguiwalo will also be in charge of the government’s campaign to protect Filipino children. In this she reminds all local government units that have ordinances covering curfews for minors to observe the proper protocols in its implementation.
“The dignity of all persons, the young or the old alike” must respected, adding that while “in principle, children should be treated not as adults,” there is also the problem of syndicates and criminals using minors in their operations in a direct effort to circumvent the law.
“How do we address that problem? Do we address that by lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12? Or should it be addressed in how these syndicates that are taking advantage of children can be prevented from doing so?…definitely, in terms of syndicates, criminal syndicates using children for criminal actions, that should be stopped.”