POEA boss sees writing on wall, starts packing
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:30 am | Friday, December 30th, 2011
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment on Carlos Cao’s departure from the POEA. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
While there has been no official word from Malacañang, the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Carlos Cao Jr., said his bosses at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had told him to prepare to vacate his post.
Cao said Thursday, “I was informed verbally a few days ago by higher-ups at DOLE that they want to replace me … but I have not received anything from the Office of the President.”
“Whether I’m finally replaced or not, I continue to believe in and support this administration. I have no rancor. I’m not angry. I continue to pray for this government to succeed,” he said in an interview.
Sources at DOLE last week hinted that Cao was on his way out, with Labor Undersecretary Hans Cacdac expected to replace him on Monday.
Cacdac and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment Thursday on Cao’s departure from the POEA.
“I serve at the pleasure of the President,” Cao said. “I’ve already been here for nearly a year and I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me to serve our overseas Filipino workers.”
Cao said he was not aware of the reason for his impending removal.
“It’s beyond me. By the grace of God and the cooperation of our stakeholders, we have been able to improve the processing of our OFWs here at the POEA,” Cao said.
“When I arrived here, they would still be here up to 7 p.m. I’m now looking at our Balik Manggagawa (kiosks) and it’s only 3 p.m. but there are now only a few remaining people in the lines,” he said.
Cao said that there was also an improvement in the deployment of OFWs this year compared to 2010.
“There’s no issue against me but whatever is the decision of the higher-ups, I will comply. This has been a most cheerful time for me because I find joy in serving the people,” he said.
Cacdac, Cao’s expected replacement, is an old hand at the POEA, having served as deputy administrator in charge of licensing and adjudication from 2006 to 2010.
President Aquino appointed him undersecretary for labor relations in September 2010. Among the cases he handled was the labor row at Philippine Airlines, which remains turbulent to this day.
Cacdac has also occupied various positions at DOLE, among them, as director of the Bureau of Labor Relations and executive director of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.
A lawyer and multiawarded writer, Cacdac once served as coordinator for the Urban Poor Unity of the Ateneo University-based Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal.