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Aquino appoints Roxas as new DoTC chief

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Former senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas ll is new DoTC secretary. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) President Benigno Aquino III has announced the appointment of former Senator Manuel Roxas II as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, ending days of speculation on who would replace outgoing DoTC chief Jose De Jesus.

In a televised news briefing in Malacañang Tuesday afternoon, Aquino said Roxas would continue to be an adviser to him. He said Roxas would be a senior member of the economic cluster.

“Tinanggap po ni Mar Roxas kahapon ang alok ko sa kanyang maging Kalihim ng Department of Transportation and Communications,” said the President.

“Siya rin po ang magiging pinuno ng ating Economic Cluster, na may katungkulan na ipaabot sa karaniwang tao ang nararanasang paglago ng ating ekonomiya. Patuloy pa rin niyang gagampanan ang tungkuling ibinigay ko sa kanya mula pa nang una akong maupo sa puwesto,” he said.

Roxas was initially considered by Aquino as a presidential adviser or as a chief of staff in Malacañang.

“Sabi ko sa kanya kelangan sana kita sa headquarters pero may sunog sa frontlines,” the President said.

Aquino described De Jesus’ resignation as unexpected.

“Hindi naman natin inasahan ang pagbibitiw sa puwesto ni Secretary Ping de Jesus nang ganito kaaga. Ang totoo nga po, at alam naman ninyo, may ibang pusisyon sana akong ibibigay kay Mar. Pero kailangan ng taong magpapatuloy ng mga repormang nagsisimula na sa DoTC. Hindi puwedeng magtiwala tayo sa kung sinu-sino para palitan ang pinuno nito. Una, ang papalit, kailangang may talino at kakayahang magpatakbo ng isa sa pinakamalaki at pinakamayamang ahensya ng gobyerno. Mas mahalaga, kailangan ng isang taong kaya akong sabayan sa pagtahak sa tuwid na landas,” said the President.

With Roxas at the helm of the DoTC, Aquino is confident that the former senator could institute the needed reforms in the agency, pointing oout the many projects that were said to be the source of corruption.

In fact, Aquino cited Roxas’ role to stop the anomalous national broadband network (NBN)-ZTE agreement.

“Isa ito sa mga kalokohang napigil sa tulong ni Mar, kaya nga nang kinailangan ko ng kaibigang reresponde sa mabigat at mabilisan nating pangangailangan, siya ang una kong naisip,” he said.

“Hiniling ko po ito sa kanya bilang isang kaibigan, at bilang inyong Pangulo. Ang sabi ko sa kanya, kailangan sana kita dito sa Headquarters, pero may biglang dumating na sunog sa frontline. Puwede ba sumugod ka muna doon?” he added.

Aquino said he has directed Roxas to coordinate with De Jesus to update him about the situation in the DOTC.

And as the new head of the DoTC, the President also gave Roxas the free hand to choose his own men in the different offices under the department to help him insitute the reforms.

“Bagaman pangunahing tungkulin pa rin ni Mar ang tuparin ang mandato ng DOTC, patuloy pa rin po ang magiging pagpayo niya sa akin. Marami pa rin po akong ibang iuutos sa kanya; aasikasuhin pa rin niya ang mga kailangang asikasuhin.”

Gil Cabacungan

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Tags: Cabinet , Department of Transportation and Communications , DoTC , Jose “Ping” de Jesus , Manuel “Mar” Roxas , news , Politics , Presidential Appointments

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