Colleagues mourn Dinky Soliman’s passing, extol lifelong work for the poor


FORMER colleagues in the Aquino presidency on Sunday paid tribute to former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, who died of reported renal complications weeks after recovering from Covid-19.

Abigail Valte, former deputy spokesperson of then-President Noynoy Aquino, described her as one of the public servants looked up to by the youth. Her dedication and selflessness will always be remembered by those who worked with her in and out of government, said Valte.

 For his part, Liberal Party president Kiko Pangilinan described Soliman, a lifelong social worker, as someone who never rested from her work in helping others.

Soliman’s death was announced by Vice President Leni Robredo in her Sunday morning radio show.

Both Robredo and Soliman were staunch supporters of President Noynoy Aquino, whose Liberal Party fielded Robredo for vice president in 2016.

Robredo was seen in public in June when she condoled with the Aquino family after the former president succumbed to renal failure at the age of 61.  In August, Soliman got infected with Covid and recovered, but was said to have struggled with complications from her comorbidities.

“Rest in peace, my dear classmate. Hanggang sa huli, wala kang kapaguran sa mga laban para sa kapwa. Pahinga ka na sa gitna ng malawak at magandang bukid ng sunflowers sa langit. [Until the end you never tired in the fight for others. Rest now in the wide and beautiful field of sunflowers in heaven],” Pangilinan said in a statement, referring to Soliman’s known love for the vibrantly yellow huge flowers.

The senator said he and wife Sharon Cuneta deeply mourned her passing. “You lived and loved with all of your heart, devoting all of your time, effort and strength in helping uplift millions from poverty. You gave your all without measure,” he added.

Soliman served first in the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, but resigned in 2005 along with the so-called Hyatt 10, in protest over alleged fraud in the 2004 polls.

She rejoined the Cabinet in Noynoy Aquino’s presidency, where she pushed the same advocacy she had begun–the so-called 4Ps that embodied conditional cash transfers to millions of poor families as long as they ensure their children’s regular health examinations and schooling.

Pangilinan extended condolences to Soliman’s wife Hector, and children  Sandino and Marikit, as well as the Soliman and Juliano families.

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