Roxas’s first order of business: Repair DILG elevatorsBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Manuel “Mar” Roxas immediately implemented reforms on his first day as interior secretary Monday, starting with a faulty elevator.
A perplexed Roxas literally had to sweat it out to reach his office, which was his predecessor’s, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) building.
“I know this is our first day to work together. Thank you for your very warm welcome,” Roxas told DILG employees during the flag raising ceremony held on the 8th floor of the department’s main office in Kamuning, Quezon City.
“As you can see, we all should really be warm since we had a warm-up (exercise) going up to the 8th floor. It’s a good thing that the flag raising ceremony is held here today so I only had to walk eight floors. I know that on normal days, I have to walk up to the 10th floor to go to my office,” he said in Filipino, eliciting laughter.
“So we will all be physically fit because as we take the stairs, we will also be discussing matters. That’s good exercise,” he added.
A DILG official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Roxas decided to take the stairs to attend the program after waiting for several minutes for the elevator on the building’s ground floor.
Turning serious, Roxas said he directed Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero to review the contract for the elevator service at the DILG office.
While employees often poked fun at their faulty elevator system, Roxas said it was important for the DILG to implement reforms “right here in our home.”
“In your behalf, I’ve directed the administrative unit to look at the contract and to find out … what clearly are the failures all this time and to undertake necessary steps to correct this. We have to know what are the deliverables of the contract and if the provider is not doing its obligations, why should we pay for it?” Roxas said.
“You are supposed to come to work without having to suffer (walking several floors up the building). You need only wait for five minutes and not one hour just to take the elevator.”
Roxas, who was first appointed by President Aquino as transportation secretary, was designated to replace Robredo a few days after the former interior secretary died in a plane crash on Aug. 18.
In his speech, Roxas vowed to continue and improve the reform programs and policies that Robredo had introduced in the DILG.
Admitting that he had no knowledge of running local government units and the police, he urged DILG officials to “teach” him how to go about his duties and responsibilities as interior secretary.
“If you want to tell me something, don’t think twice approaching me if you see me in the corridor, in the elevator or on the stairs. I’m open and willing to listen to your ideas and suggestions,” he said.