Retired General Roy Cimatu, New Guardian of the Environment
President Rodrigo Duterte, on May 8, 2017, appointed Retired General Roy A. Cimatu as the new Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and has administered Cimatu’s oath-taking during the 15th Cabinet Meeting in Malacanang.
Two days later, on May 10, 2017, the changing of the guards happened at the DENR when outgoing DENR Secretary Regina Lopez turned-over the symbolic DENR flag to incoming DENR Secretary Cimatu.
In his speech, he said the appointment caught him by surprise but as duty calls, he will be moving on a new field and would need time to study the agency that impacts the daily lives of the Filipino citizens. He also said that he is willing to listen to everyone and will make use the power and resources to ensure that every concerns will be properly and judiciously addressed as he believes that the DENR will only be effective with the cooperation of all its stakeholders.
Knowing DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu
Born on July 4, 1946, Retired General Cimatu is a native of Bangui, Ilocos Norte. He studied in Bangui Elementary School and Bangui National High School. He is studying pre-Engineering courses at the National University when he joined the Philippine Military Academy and graduated as a member of PMA Class 1970. He also holds a degree of Master in Business Administration from Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
Cimatu, is also a pilot. He was trained in the US Army Command and Staff College (USACSC) at Forth Leavenworth, Kansas.
The early part of his career was spent in combat in rebellion-wracked Mindanao. He rose from the ranks from an army platoon leader to a brigade commander.
He was chief of the 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro during the all-out war waged versus the Moro Islamic Liberation Front by deposed President Joseph Estrada in 2000; Commanding General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Command in 2001 who participated in the Balikatan 02-1 military exercises between the Philippines and the United states took place for the first time in Basilan amid the US-led War on Terror.
He was appointed AFP Chief of Staff of the Arroyo Administration in 2002. Even being AFP Chief of Staff, Cimatu is still in the jungle base of the Army Scout Rangers in Cabunbata, Basilan crushing Abu Sayyaf.
He was called “Pacman,” dubbed as a “Thinking General” and a “Smiling General,” due to his excellent and aggressive campaign plans against Abu Sayyaf.
After retirement from service, he was Special Envoy to the Middle East with a title “Ambassador” until June 30, 2011; chief negotiator for the released of the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) kidnap victims in Iraq; also head of the panel overseeing the contingency measures for the welfare of OFW’s in the Middle East in times of troubles.
In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte re-appointed him to the same position and in April 23, 2017, President Duterte introduced Cimatu as a new Cabinet member and announced his appointment as Special Envoy for OFW Refugees who is tasked to assist distressed Filipino workers in the Middle East during the opening ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa in Antique.
On May 8, 2017, he was appointed DENR Secretary.
Cimatu is the third child of war veteran Fidel Magarro Cimatu, Sr. and public school teacher Clara Aguillana. He is married to businesswoman Fe Aguillon with whom he has one son, Dennis, who studied architecture at the University of Sto. Tomas.