Eduard Ermita

Favila moves to BSP; Lapus goes to Trade

Favila moves to BSP; Lapus goes to Trade
By Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—With less than four months to go before she steps down, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Monday completed what could be her last Cabinet reshuffle.

At separate events, President Arroyo announced Monday her appointment of Trade Secretary Peter Favila to the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Ms Arroyo named Education Secretary Jesli Lapus as Favila’s replacement at the Department of Trade and Industry. Mona Valisno, the President’s adviser on education, was appointed education secretary.

Before the announcements, the President posed for a picture in Malacañang with her Cabinet, including her new appointees who replaced several key Cabinet members who are running in the May elections.

“The President said she is planning on working hard with her new Cabinet until the last day of her term and is equally committed to a smooth transition to a new (administration),” said her deputy spokesperson Gary Olivar, who released to the media the official photo of Ms Arroyo and her Cabinet.

The new Cabinet members include Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza (who remained transport secretary), Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, Budget Secretary Joaquin Lagonera, Agriculture Secretary Bernie Fondevilla and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Natividad Dizon, Director General Elena Bautista of the Presidential Management Staff and Director General Rogelio Peyuan of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The photo-opportunity was preceded by a farewell call by former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

At a Go Negosyo forum at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the President said she was appointing Favila to the Monetary Board so that “microenterprise-and small-enterprise loans” would continue to have a defender on the board. Favila was present at the forum.

2nd to the monetary board

Favila is the second Cabinet member that Ms Arroyo appointed to the Monetary Board. In 2008, she appointed her press secretary and spokesperson, Ignacio Bunye, as member of the board representing the private sector.

The President also announced Lapus’ appointment as trade secretary at the Go Negosyo forum.

From the forum, Ms Arroyo motored to San Sebastian College in Manila to attend CAT (Citizenship Advancement Training) graduation rites. There she announced that she was appointing Valisno as education secretary.

Valisno and Lapus were present at the graduation rites.

Business as usual

In a statement, Olivar assured the people that it was “business as usual at the Palace” following the latest Cabinet reshuffle.

“President Arroyo and her entire government will remain focused on these vital issues (healthcare, investing in education, creating jobs and building roads, among other things) and will advance this governing agenda with energy,” Olivar said.

He described most of the new Cabinet secretaries as “deeply experienced public servants, so the agenda will in no way be interrupted.

He said the policies and programs of the government would continue to be carried out “with vigor” by the President’s Cabinet.