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‘Her passing ends a chapter in a Civil Society’: Friends, allies mourn death of ex-DSWD chief Dinky Soliman

By Hannah Mallorca Published Sep 19, 2021 6:04 pm

Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Victoria "Dinky" Nerves Juliano-Soliman has passed away on Sunday, Sept. 19. She was 68 years old. 

Soliman, a longtime social worker, first headed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the administration of ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but resigned in view of the “Hello, Garci” scandal in July 2005

She then returned as the DSWD Secretary of the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. She also served as the head of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet cluster.

Following Soliman’s passing, Vice President Leni Robredo described the ex-DSWD chief as her “lifesaver.” She recalled how they became close after Dinky helped her after her husband Jesse Robredo’s untimely death in 2012.

Robredo also recounted how Soliman, who was supposed to be on a vacation with her family in Batangas, “kept us company” and relayed information about the search of her husband’s remains.

“Sec Dinky made sure that I ate and slept during those harrowing days. While I slept on our bed, she would be on the couch just beside me, making sure she was there when I wake up,” she added.

According to Robredo, Soliman was the “first person outside the family” who knew her decision to run as Camarines Sur’s 3rd district representative and Vice President. 

Former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda praised Soliman for being DSWD’s  “indefatigable” Secretary.

“In any calamity, she was there. She ensured the poorest were not left behind thru the CCT program. She was the smallest member of our Cabinet but the biggest heart among us,” he added.

For former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Soliman “helped, touched, and gave hope to millions of people.” 

Purisima also recalled Soliman’s service to the government when the conditional cash transfer program called 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program was initiated under the Aquino administration. 

In a separate Facebook post, Purisima alluded to sunflowers as he said goodbye to Soliman.

Former Communications Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III described Soliman’s passing as the “end” of a “chapter in a Civil Society now gone.”

“Where the crossover from working in parallel to, to working not just with but in, (the) government was tried,” Quezon added.

Prior to Soliman’s work in public service, she worked as an activist and civil society worker for non-governmental organizations.

Banner and thumbnail photos from Leni Gerona Robredo’s Facebook account and screengrab from @dawende’s Twitter account