Duterte mulls “pushcart educator” Efren Peñaflorida as next urban poor commission chief

Image from Efren Peñaflorida's Facebook account
  • President said he is considering innovative teacher as next head of PCUP
  • He also said he’s considering five farmers from Davao City as commissioners

MANILA, Philippines – Days after firing a former leftist solon as head of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s considering “pushcart educator” and civic worker Efren Peñaflorida as his replacement.

“Bigyan mo ako ng tao na galing sa hirap o mahirap, na marunong at i-appoint ko na chairman. Ang una kong i-consider ‘yung nagatulak bitaw, gawin kong chairman ‘yon,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying.

[Give me someone who is poor but able, and I will appoint him as chairman. The first person I am considering is the guy who pushes carts, I will make him chairman.]

Peñaflorida was named the “CNN Hero of the Year” in 2009 for his innovative but simple way of providing education to poor and disenfranchised children in urban areas.

A teacher who grew up in a poor family, he became famous for plying pushcarts filled with books and other educational material for children who could not afford or did not go to school.

Aside from Peñaflorida, Duterte also revealed he’s considering five other civic workers from Davao City to be part of the urban poor commission and ordered his assistant Bong Go to provide them with an allowance if ever they would accept the position.

“Bigyan mo ng allowance, Bong. Siyempre hindi naman ‘yan papapasukin ng Malacañang kung ‘di ka naka-barong, naka-maong ka lang,” he said.

[Give them an allowance, Bong. Of course, they won’t be allowed entry to Malacañang if they’re not in barong, just maong.]

One of the candidates is said to be 2014 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Randy Halasan, a teacher who earned acclaim for his work and dedication to the far-flung community of Matigsalug.