Duterte offers urban poor commission post to CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida Jr. to head the disgraced commission tasked with addressing the plight of the poor.

Duterte has asked Peñaflorida to head the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Special Assistant to the President Bong Go confirmed to CNN Philippines on Saturday.

Duterte earlier said he will fire all commissioners of the PCUP, saying they failed to perform the agency's mandate as a collegial body. The commissioners, headed by former Kabataan Party-list Representative Terry Ridon, were also accused of going on junkets abroad.

Go said Peñaflorida is still thinking about Duterte's offer, since he also has prior commitments as a civic leader. 

"Nagulat din siya (He was also surprised)," Go said in a text message.

Peñaflorida was awarded CNN Hero of the Year in 2009 for his work in Kariton Klasrum, which aims to make school accessible to street children through pushcarts stacked with learning materials.

Read: Kariton Klasrum saves kids from gangs, drugs, petty crime

In a 2016 interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, Peñaflorida said he believed the Duterte administration is "pro-kid," but said youth casualties in the drug war are saddening.

According to its mandate under Executive Order 82, the PCUP serves as the direct link of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressed to their needs.

Ridon earlier said the PCUP commissioners' foreign travels were meant to present the government and give voice to the urban poor in international conferences.

Ridon, meanwhile, earlier thanked Duterte for the opportunity to serve the nation, but said the agency's record "can speak for itself."