Ex-DSWD chief Dinky Soliman dies at 68

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — Former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman died on Sunday, it was confirmed separately by Vice President Leni Robredo and by former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

She was 68 years old.

Soliman served as DSWD Secretary during the administrations of former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, who himself passed away this year. She also chaired Aquino’s cabinet cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction.

Robredo said on her weekly radio show on Sunday: “May napakalungkot na balita tayong natanggap, ngayon lang, na si former DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman ay namayapa na ngayong umaga.”

[Translation: We just received very sad news that former DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman passed away this morning.]

“Napakabuting tao [Such a good person],” the vice president added. “‘Yung buong buhay niya dinevote niya talaga sa paninilbihan sa mga mahihirap [She devoted her whole life to serving the poor.]"

Purisima said that his former colleague in the Cabinet died at 7:32 a.m.

“You helped, touched and gave hope to millions of people, especially those who needed society’s help the most,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “You introduced and pushed for the conditional cash transfer program (#4P) that has benefited millions of Filipinos. That alone should seal your legacy of truly caring for the #poor and #underprivileged.”

In a statement, the DSWD also mourned the passing of Soliman, whom it called a “devoted champion of social change.”

The agency noted that under the late Secretary’s term, it pushed for the enactment of “milestone laws,” including the Magna Carta of Social Workers, Magna Carta for Women, and Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

“The DSWD family will truly miss Secretary Dinky," it said. "Apart from her notable accomplishments for the Department, she will also be remembered for her sunflower greetings."