DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Two Davaoeños took their oath on Tuesday, January 23, as new commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).
Former Davao City Social Services Development Office (CSSDO) Buhangin District head Norman Baloro and 2014 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Randy Hamile Halasan were appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on January 16 as commissioners of PCUP, whose top officials were sacked by Duterte last December for supposedly going on junkets.
At the Malacañang Palace on Tuesday, both took an oath before Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. at around 10:00 in the morning.
Asked what he felt, Baloro said: “I felt blessed, honored and proud at the same time.”
Baloro, who described himself as a “street child”, said he never dreamed of serving as a national official of the country.
He told Davao Today in a phone interview that he used to sell Sampaguita flowers and refreshments in San Pedro Cathedral to make a living during his elementary years.
Baloro said he hopes to serve the commission with his expertise in providing livelihood and employment.
“I will be a working commissioner. I’m praying that I will be assigned to a committee where my expertise will be needed which is livelihood and employment as what I learned during my years serving the local government,” he said.
Baloro has been serving the city under the CSSDO for more than 15 years. He started as a youth volunteer of the same agency and was later given a regular position.
He is also a staunch LGBT rights advocate and leads an LGBT group under Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
On the other hand, Halasan is an award-winning school teacher for his work with the indigenous people in Marilog District here. He helped the Matigsalug community develop agricultural skills by planting cash crops and growing root crops for their own consumption.
He was also hailed as one of the Datu Bago awardees in 2015, the highest award that Davao City Government confers to individuals who have contributed to the development of the city.
The president has yet to name two more commissioners and the chairperson of the PCUP to form the commission en banc. (davaotoday.com)