On its last plenary session for the year, the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the ad interim appointments of three cabinet secretaries, two commissioners of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), 54 officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the nominations and ad interim appointments of six foreign service officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The CA confirmed Secretary Jaime Bautista for the Department of Transportation, Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar for the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), and Secretary Arsenio Balisacan for the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Commissioner Nelson Celis and Commissioner Ernesto Maceda, Jr. were likewise confirmed for the COMELEC.
The CA gave its consent to the nominations of two Ambassadors—Amb. Bernard Dy for the Swiss Confederation and Amb. Irene Natividad for the Federal Republic of Germany. Along with them, the CA confirmed the ad interim appointments of four more foreign service officials of the DFA.
Finally, the CA confirmed the appointment of 54 general and senior officers of the Armed Forces.
“We’d like to thank all the men and women of the CA for a job well done,” said Senate President Juan Migz Zubiri, who heads the CA, at the end of session. “I hope the public takes note that the CA is doing its job properly, efficiently, and effectively.”
Zubiri also voiced his support for the newly confirmed officials.
“Your success in the department will mean the success of several other programs of government.”
“In the midst of the Christmas rush, I know you have your hands full because you have to handle the Christmas traffic, the congestion in the airports and in the seaports, and the myriad of problems in transport,” the veteran legislator told Bautista. “Your success in the department will mean the success of several other programs of government.”
“Bilib na bilib po ako [kay Sec. Acuzar],” the seasoned lawmaker said of the DHSUD secretary. “Sinabi niya sa akin ang kanyang frustration sa bagal ng government projects na kailangan para mabigyan ng tahanan ang ating mga kababayan. Ang sabi pa niya sa akin, kung pwede, siya na lang ang magbayad ng lupa para matayuan ng mass housing projects para sa ating mga kababayan. Ganyan kataba ang kanyang puso para sa ating mga kababayan.”
The senator also had commendatory words for Balicasan, a fellow alumnus of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, particularly for how he rose through the ranks of civil service, beginning as a researcher at the Cotton Research and Development Institute until his appointment as Secretary of NEDA.
“We salute your perseverance, and we thank you for your service to our people,” Zubiri stressed.
Of the COMELEC appointees, Zubiri noted that Celis “comes with a skillset that the COMELEC needs, which is in data privacy and cybersecurity,” and that Maceda’s brilliance runs in his DNA.
He also reminded the DFA foreign service officers of their responsibility as the face of the country, and urged them to always promote the country.
“Our country needs investments and our country needs tourists, and I know that you will do your best to bring these in.”
“Our country needs investments and our country needs tourists, and I know that you will do your best to bring these in,” Zubiri stressed.
He also thanked the AFP officers for their service to the country.
“Kung wala po kayo, wala po ang institusyong ito, wala pong demokrasya sa ating bansa,” Zubiri concluded.