President swears in members of Cabinet

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. administered the oath. Screengrab from FB Live

THE members of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s Cabinet were sworn in on Thursday in Malacañang following the inauguration of the country's 17th president at the National Museum.

Marcos administered the oath.

“I suppose this is the first act of actual work that we will be doing for this administration. So, let's get the official part done so that we can get over the job,” Marcos said before the oath-taking.

He had met with his Cabinet before but this was their first official meeting.

The President has named more than 20 individuals to Cabinet posts, including the economic cluster headed by incumbent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno who will take over the Department of Finance.

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Aside from Diokno, other holdovers from the Duterte administration who are joining the Marcos Cabinet are outgoing Labor and Employment chief Silvestre Bello 3rd, former Cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Bello is the new chairman and resident representative-designate of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office to be based in Taiwan, while Guevarra takes over from Calida as solicitor general.

Nograles was renominated as chairman of the Civil Service Commission. He was one of former president Rodrigo Duterte's ad-interim appointees bypassed by the Commission on Appointments due to lack of quorum.

On Wednesday, Marcos named Calida as chairman of the Commission on Audit and Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso as president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Juan Ponce Enrile, who was in the Cabinet of Marcos Jr.'s father Ferdinand Sr. and appointed as chief presidential legal counsel, did not make it to the President's inauguration after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.

Marcos will temporarily be the Agriculture secretary while Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio will serve as Education secretary.

In his inaugural speech, Marcos expressed confidence that Duterte-Carpio can reform the education system to better prepare Filipino students for more and better jobs.

“Once we had an education system that prepared coming generations for more and better jobs. There is hope for a comeback. Vice President and soon-to-be Secretary of Education Sara Duterte-Carpio will fit that mission to achieve,” he said.

Marcos hopes to see an improvement in the education materials of students.

“What we teach in our schools, the materials used must be rethought. I am not talking about history. I am talking about the basics, the sciences. Sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills,” he said.

He also vowed to give equal emphasis to the country's national language.

“Our teachers from elementary are heroes fighting ignorance with poor paper weapons. We are condemning the future of our race to menial occupations abroad, then they are exploited by traffickers,” he said.

Marcos also vowed to give overseas Filipino workers all the help they need “for them to survive and to thrive.”

“Our nurses are the best in the world. They equated themselves with the highest distinction abroad, having suffered even the highest casualties. They are out there because we cannot pay them for the same risk and workload that we have back here,” he said.

Marcos said he is confident that former Labor undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople will do well as secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers.

“There will be changes starting tomorrow. I am confident because I have an Ople in my Cabinet,” he said.

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