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President taps Cimatu as new DENR chief

President Duterte has named former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Roy Cimatu as the new Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary.

Cimatu’s appointment was first disclosed by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol in his Facebook page. According to Piñol, Duterte announced Cimatu’s appointment during the Cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon.

The appointment was also confirmed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Malacañang expressed confidence that Cimatu will faithfully serve the nation and its people as new the Environment and Natural Resources Secretary.

“We are confident that Secretary Cimatu shall faithfully serve the interest of the country and the Filipino people in his capacity as the new DENR Secretary,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Cimatu will replace Secretary Gina Lopez whose appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments last week.

Duterte first revealed that Cimatu was the newest member of his Cabinet during the opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2017 in Iloilo last month.

“He is an Ilocano. Many, many years ago, he was assigned in a division in Davao. Doon kami nagkakilala,” Duterte said.

“He’s a candidate for another position. Cabinet na siya ngayon eh. But this time, I transferred him to a busier job,” he added.

Cimatu was the Special Envoy to the Middle East, also known as the Special Envoy for Overseas Filipino Worker Refugees, before he was named to the DENR.

“He used to be in charge if there are Filipinos that need to be repatriated kasi may gulo,” the Presidential Communications and Operations Office said.

During his state visit to three countries in the Middle East during the Holy Week, Duterte announced that he was talking with Cimatu for a possible Cabinet position.

The former AFP chief was appointed by Duterte as his special envoy to the Middle East last year. Cimatu also held the same position during the term of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo.

Duterte, during his Middle East visit, said Cimatu was Arroyo’s go-to man for the mass evacuation of OFWs.

Cimatu, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1970, was AFP chief from May to September in 2002.
(Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

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