Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., and Special Assistant to President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. served as witnesses during Rep. Rex Gatchalian’s oath-taking ceremony.
By Ismael Amigo
MANILA — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has appointed Valenzuela City First District Rep. Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian as the new secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Gatchalian immediately took his oath of office before the Chief Executive shortly after his appointment in Malacañang on Tuesday, January 31, the Presidential Communications Operations Office said.
Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., and Special Assistant to President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. served as witnesses during the oath-taking ceremony.
Gatchalian replaced Erwin Tulfo, who left his post last December after his appointment was bypassed twice by the Commission on Appointments over his libel conviction and his acquisition of American citizenship.
Gatchalian is a brother of Senator Win Gatchalian and Valenzuela City Mayor Weslie Gatchalian.
He supported Marcos and his running mate, Vice President Sara Duterte, in the 2022 elections where the super tandem netted more than 30 million votes apiece.
The 44-year-old Gatchalian is a political science graduate with secondary fields in marketing and psychology from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
“Mr. President, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be able to serve the country in a much larger capacity,” Gatchalian said on Twitter on Tuesday, after his oath-taking.
“Valenzuelanos, the services of our Congress and district offices will not change,” he wrote. “A caretaker will be appointed by the House of Representatives in the coming days.”
Likewise, the DSWD employees welcomed the appointment of Gatchalian.
“The DSWD workforce commits to work with the newly appointed Secretary in ensuring that the mandate of the Department is carried out effectively, efficiently, and economically,” the department said in a statement.
“The DSWD community supports the President in appointing Secretary Gatchalian to lead the Department in its pursuit of compassionate public service with respect for human dignity, integrity, and service excellence,” it added.