By Chito Chavez
Former Social Work Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has scored the appointment of retiring Philippine Army (PA) commanding general Rolando Joselito Bautista as the next secretary of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).
Taguiwalo, formerly dean of the University of the Philippines College of Social Work and Community Development (UP-CSWCD), said Bautista will be the 60th retired military person appointed by President Duterte in the civilian bureaucracy
Bautista oversaw the military operations in the five-month war in Marawi City last year that leveled the once bustling area where 250,000 people lived and worked.
The prolonged confrontation that the military said would be over in 24 hours became the basis for enforcing martial law in all of Mindanao, with military rule extended until next year.
“DSWD is a civilian post that is mandated to provide welfare assistance to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society. Social welfare principles include upholding the dignity of individuals and respecting their rights. Hence a strong emphasis on people’s participation in the crafting and execution of the agency’s programs is a given,” Taguiwalo said.
The Philippine Army’s principal mission is to “organize, train and equip Army forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land.”
This, Taguiwalo argued, is diametrically opposed to the mandate of the DSWD.
To stress her point, Taguiwalo said the Code of Ethics of the Philippine Association of Social Workers include the following:
“That every human being has natural and social rights, capacities and responsibilities to develop his full potentials as a human being;
“In the human being’s capacity to change and recognize the value of unity in diversity, individual differences and pluralism in society;
“In free men and women living in a free society where poverty, in all its forms, is neither a fate nor a punishment, but is condition that can and must be changed;
“That the government, the private sector and the public have a joint responsibility to promote social justice and to ensure political, economic and social well-being of all people;”
Under the present administration which has again and again violated the rule of law, “civilian supremacy over the military” is being thrown out of the window, Taguiwalo concluded.