Former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman passed away on Sunday morning, Sept. 19, Vice President Leni Robredo has confirmed.
Robredo made the announcement on her radio program at Radio DZXL, also on Sunday morning.
The Vice President expressed sadness over the passing of the longtime social worker and activist, saying her family was close to Soliman.
“Si former DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman namayapa na ngayong umaga. Very very close kami kay Secretary Dinky (she passed away this morning. We are very close with Secretary Dinky),” she said.
“Napakalungkot na balita yung pagpanaw niya. Napakabuting tao. Mahaba yung buhay niya, dinevote (devote) niya talaga sa paninilbihan sa mga mahihirap (Her passing is a very sad news. She was a very good person. She devoted her long life to serving the poor),” she added.
Robredo recalled how Soliman commiserated with them when the helicopter of the late former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo crashed in 2012.
“Nung namatay yung asawa ko ay siya yung– hindi kami magkakilala pero siya yung pumunta sa Naga para samahan kami ng mga bata habang hinahanap pa yung katawan ng asawa ko (We didn’t know each other back them but when my husband died, she went to Naga to be with me and the kids while they were searching for my husband’s body),” the Vice President shared.
Soliman was reported to have passed away due to complications from renal and heart failure.
She had contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and was hospitalized mid-August this year.
Soliman first became secretary of the DSWD during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but resigned after the latter was accused of fraud in relation to the 2004 presidential elections.
She returned as DSWD secretary during the administration of the late President Benigno S. Aquino III and institutionalized the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). It is now the flagship poverty alleviation program of the Philippine government.
For his part, Manila Bulletin publisher and former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma called Soliman a dedicated public servant.
“She played a key role in establishing a viable structure for implementing the [4Ps] Program that strengthened the provision of social safety nets for the most needy Filipino families so that they could join the mainstream of social opportunity. During her watch, the DSWD also established quick-response capability to provide disaster relief to calamity-stricken areas. Her generosity of spirit inspires emulation among the Filipino youth,” Coloma said.