DAVAO CITY -- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community will have its voice in the Philippine Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) after its Davao representative is appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the agency’s new commissioners.
Norman Baloro, district coordinator under Davao City Social Service and Development Office (CSSDO), said he is overwhelmed of the chance to work with the President
“My feeling now is, I am proud because the only thing that I wished for myself is to work right and work with accountability,” he said during the I-Speak Forum at City Hall Thursday.
He said he could not believe that from being a sweepstakes ticket vendor at San Pedro Cathedral, he will be now be a public official who will serve the people at the national level.
The 34-year-old Baloro finished his degree on Bachelor Science in Social Work at the University of Mindanao. He worked for almost 15 years at CSSDO and he started his career as social worker in 2004.
Baloro was awarded as the Most Outstanding District head of CSSDO in 2014. His district was also awarded as the Most Performing District for being efficient in delivering services to its constituents from 2014 to 2016.
“My dream really is to be the next department head of CSSDO that is why I really need to work hard to prove that I am worth it but God gave me a big opportunity that I will be working on the national level,” Baloro told reporters.
Baloro admitted he did not believe it at first because he has not talked with the President nor received any appointment papers yet.
“Akala ko nga fake news and until now, hindi pa nag-sync in sa akin (I thought it was fake news and until it does not sync into my mind),” he said.
“I just heard it on news. I don’t even open my FB (Facebook) account but my friends congratulated me,” Baloro added.
But Baloro is thankful with the trust given to him by President Duterte since he was mayor of the city.
He recalled that President Duterte made his pronouncement that he wants a representative from LGBT community as one of the commissioners of PCUP during their party on December 17.
“The LGBT coalition in Davao city nominated me and then when Presidential Management Staff called me if I’m willing to resign in my present assignment once I am appointed and I said yes,” he said.
Baloro said that once he will start working in the PCUP, he will formulate a program that will benefit the urban poor in the country.
He said the work in PCUP is no different with his work at CSSDO which is to look on the welfare of the people especially the poor people.
Along with Baloro is 2014 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Emergent Leadership Randy Halasan who is a teacher in the hinterland of Marilog Distirct in Davao City.
Halasan still teaches in the far-away Matigsalog area.
Halasan and Baloro will be replacing Manuel Serra Jr. and Joan Lagunda who were fired by the President along with PCUP chair Terry Ridon for excessive travels abroad. PNA
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