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Tindig Pilipinas on Marcos Jr.’s first year: Disappointing appointees, unkept promises

Tindig Pilipinas questioned the appointments of Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa, and Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte, citing their controversial track records.

A coalition of democracy groups released a statement calling out Pres. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for his disappointing cabinet appointees and campaign promises that are yet to be fulfilled as he marks his second year in office.

In a statement issued as Marcos delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), Tindig Pilipinas questioned the appointments of Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa, and Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte, citing their controversial track records.

“We are not surprised that competence is not the yardstick for presidential appointees but ‘sino ang malapit sa kusina’, the more bootlicking, the better,” Tindig Pilipinas said.

Marcos also appointed himself as Agriculture chief, concurrently heading a department plagued by shortages and irregularities in his first year.

“A year into your presidency and you are still pretending that you are an expert in agriculture even as cartels run wild raising food prices to the detriment of the poor for whom you promised, (say what?) P20 per kilogram rice. And what about those onions that were so expensive we threatened to wear them like jewelry?” the statement read.

However, Tindig Pilipinas also pointed out some stark differences in policies and presidential conduct between Marcos and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.

The group acknowledged the difference between Marcos Jr and Duterte’s policy on China but dared the President to do more, “Maybe you can double up on it by spending all your touring money on the policy.”

“So now that you wear the barong elegantly, now that the President’s words do not seem to come from the gutter every other sentence, we are happy. We are happy that we do not have to cover our ears and the ears of our children when you have your regular and on-time press conferences,” they added, drawing contrast with Duterte’s late-night and expletive-laden speeches.

Meanwhile, with new measures such as the controversial Maharlika Fund now signed into law, Tindig Pilipinas urged Marcos to establish mechanisms for execution, accountability and regular monitoring, lest “it will just be another milking cow like other GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations).”

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They also urged the Marcos administration to release former Senator Leila De Lima, reminding the president of the dismal human rights situation during his father’s regime.

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