PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is considering CNN hero Efren Peñaflorida Jr. and a representative from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as new urban poor commissioners.
In a speech before the LGBT group in Davao City Sunday, December 17, Duterte asked the LGBT community to nominate a representative who would be appointed as commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).
"So ‘yang commission na ‘yan, bubuuin ko pa (I have to fill up the seats in that commission). I’d like a gay there somewhere—or a lesbian, and mag-usap kayong lahat all over the Philippines. You nominate somebody who is honest, hard-working and I would like to show that any, ma-bakla man o ma-tomboy (whether gay or lesbian), can always work just like an ordinary human being," he said.
The President said he was giving the LGBT community until the second week of January 2018 to submit their nomination.
He is also considering Efren Peñaflorida, a teacher and development worker who was recognized for his pushcart classrooms, to head PCUP.
"Ang una kong i-consider ay yung nagtutulak ng karomata, yung nagtuturo, gawin kong commissioner yun," Duterte said, adding that he wants someone who rose from poverty because of his effort, knowledge, and skills.
A social worker and teacher, Peñaflorida was hailed CNN Hero of the Year in 2009 for his work in "Kariton Klasrum", a project that aims to make school accessible to Filipino street children through pushcarts as mobile classrooms.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Special Assistant to the President Bong Go has been tasked to look for Peñaflorida to "ask him regarding the chief executive’s offer for him to join the administration."
Duterte's decision to appoint Peñaflorida came after he ordered the firing of all commissioners of the urban poor commission over junkets and their supposed failure to hold meetings.
Duterte said dismissed PCUP chairman Terry Ridon traveled seven times since his appointment in September 2016.
Under Executive Order 82, the PCUP serves as the direct link of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressed to their needs. (PNA with SDR/SunStar Philippines/ICT/SunStar Davao)