Luzon execs welcome Roxas appointment amid high expectationsInquirer Northern Luzon and Inquirer Central Luzon
BAGUIO CITY — Ifugao Representative Teodoro Baguilat Jr., who was among those considered to take over at the Department of Interior Local Government, said outgoing Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel Roxas II now has “the most difficult position in the Cabinet” as new DILG chief because anyone chosen for the position would have the “unenviable burden” of being compared to the late Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Baguilat acknowledged that Roxas has the charisma “to ensure that Robredo’s crusade of eliminating corruption in the DILG will be continued” but hopes the new DILG chief will take on Robredo’s other programs.
“I am hoping though that Secretary Mar will consider the late secretary’s less glamorized advocacies like the mandatory representation of indigenous peoples in legislative councils, Robredo’s access-to-justice project and his proposed resolution to in-city resettlement of informal settlers,” said Baguilat, who chairs the House committee on national cultural communities.
In Central Luzon, Harvey Keh, lead convenor of Kaya Natin! movement, said, “Secretary Mar is a good choice with proven competence and track record. I hope he will continue the reforms initiated by Secretary Robredo. He can expect support from Kaya Natin!”
Kaya Natin!, which was founded by Robredo, Fr. Eddie Panlilio and former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, now has 18 members among former and current elected officials.
Panlilio, former governor of Pampanga, called Roxas a “very good choice,” and said Roxas has the commitment and integrity to pursue President Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” (straight path) policy.
Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, president of the Pampanga Mayors’ League, said Roxas confronts “high expectations set by Secretary Robredo’s good performance at the Department of Interior and Local Government.”
Lawyer Ma. Amelia Tiglao Cayanan, president of the Pampanga civil society group, Kapampangan Manalakaran Inc., said Roxas has “proven what he is capable of doing as head of different departments.”
Mayor Gloria Congco of the Nueva Ecija town of Cabiao, fore her part, reflected on Roxas’ decision to forego of his presidential plan to give way to President Benigno Aquino III.
She said: “Like Secretary Jesse, Secretary Mar is not into politicking. He’s served several government posts and he’s [made] sacrifices already.”
In Angeles City, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, a former Cabinet member in the Arroyo administration, said he and his allies would support anybody who would continue the plans and undertakings of Robredo.
“Anyone who wishes to follow what Secretary Jesse [Robredo] had started like the Local Governance Performance Management System and Seal of Good Housekeeping, and the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi for the local government units, will definitely get our support.”
In the City of Malolos, Bulacan officials offered different views about Roxas’ new task.
Mayor Arnel Mendoza of Bustos town said Roxas has all the qualifications to regulate local governments but does not have the experience to deal with them.
Mayor Bartolome Ramos of Sta. Maria and Mayor Lorna Silverio of San Rafael town said they believed Roxas could handle the agency well.
Lawyer Pinky Bernabe, secretary of the Bulacan chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, said they backed Roxas, whom the chapter had adopted as an honorary member. (Reports from Tonette Orejas, Carmela Reyes-Estrope and Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon; and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon)