By Justin K. Vestil
AN ally of President Rodrigo Duterte in Cebu has been appointed as undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Lawyer Noel Felongco got his appointment from Duterte last Nov. 16.
Felongco, who was born in Davao City but is living in the southern Cebu town of Argao, is the president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Central Visayas chapter.
Marian Codilla, information officer of DENR 7’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), confirmed Felongco’s appointment yesterday. Codilla said that after taking his oath of office before Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr. last Nov. 24, Felongco immediately visited the DENR 7 in Cebu for a courtesy call.
In a separate interview, Felongco said that DENR Secretary Regina Paz Lopez told him that he will be tasked to oversee the agency’s various flagship programs, such as the National Greening Program (NGP), and to handle concerns of indigenous people affected by environmental degradation.
Felongco said that his experience as a former commissioner of the National Commission for the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) will help him a lot in the new position.
Felongco served in the NCIP during the term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2008 to 2010. Felongco, who was born in Davao City, spent most of his life in Cotabato City where he finished his law studies at the Notre Dame University.
Felongco also served as a councilor, for two terms, of Cotabato City from 1998 to 2004.
Felongco, however, decided to leave politics behind, and together with his family, transferred to Argao, Cebu, the hometown of his wife.
In Cebu, Felongco served as one of the campaign leaders of Duterte during the May 2016 national and local elections.