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Aquino Names Philippine Cabinet


June 29, 2010

MANILA (WSJ) — Philippine President-elect Benigno Aquino III Tuesday introduced members of his cabinet, a mix of old and new hands led by Cesar Purisima, who will serve anew as finance secretary and whose key task is to put the Philippines’ fiscal house in order.

Mr. Aquino said Mr. Purisima’s main role will be to improve the government’s finances “without resorting to new taxes.”

Mr. Aquino named Kim Henares as commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the government’s main tax collection agency, where she previously served as undersecretary. He said the Bureau of Customs’ appointment is still under review.

Mr. Purisima briefly served as finance chief under outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and was one of the architects of her fiscal consolidation plan, the main push of which was to raise the value-added tax and broaden the range of items it covers. He also initiated programs to go after tax evaders and smugglers.

The rest of Mr. Aquino’s appointees are Paquito Ochoa Jr., executive secretary; Florencio Abad, secretary of budget and management; Corazon Soliman, secretary of social welfare and development; Armin Luistro, secretary of education; Leila de Lima, secretary of justice; Alberto Romulo, secretary of foreign affairs; Voltaire Gazmin, secretary of national defense; Proceso Alcala, secretary of agriculture; Rosalinda Baldos, secretary of labor; Enrique Ona, secretary of health; Alberto Lim, secretary of tourism; Gregory Domingo, secretary of trade and industry; Mario Montejo, secretary of science and technology; Jose Rene Almendras, secretary of energy; Virgilio delos Reyes, secretary of agrarian reform; Cayetano Paderanga, economic planning secretary; Rogelio Singson, secretary of public works and highways; Kim Henares, commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue; Eduardo de Mesa, presidential legal adviser; and Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesman.

Mr. Aquino said he will initially serve as secretary for interior and local governments until the three nominees are reviewed.