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Cimatu resigns as DENR chief

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Malacañang on Friday confirmed the resignation of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu due to health reasons.

Acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said DENR Undersecretary Jim Sampulna has been designated as officer-in-charge of the department.

“We wish Secretary Cimatu good health as he transitions from his decades-long and stellar service in government to private life,” Nograles said in a statement.

In a letter from the Office of the President dated February 17, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed Cimatu that his resignation has been accepted effective immediately.

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Cimatu tendered his resignation on Monday after serving the department since May 2017, after he was picked by President Rodrigo Duterte to replace former Secretary Gina Lopez whose appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Cimatu, a retired chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, also served as the country’s Special Envoy to the Middle East with the rank of Ambassador under the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In October 2016, Duterte reappointed Cimatu to the same position.

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Cimatu was appointed as an overseer of the government’s intensified pandemic response strategies in Cebu City on top of his job as DENR secretary.

Meanwhile, Nograles confirmed the appointment of former DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda as Senior Deputy Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), replacing Abraham Bagasin.

“We wish Senior Deputy Administrator Antiporda success in NIA, as it advances the government’s national irrigation program towards growth in the agriculture sector,” he added. (PNA)

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