Congressman named acting DPWH chief
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has appointed incumbent Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado as acting Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary to replace Mark Villar who resigned last week to run for senator in the 2022 elections. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also confirmed the designation of Romando Artes as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager, succeeding Jojo Garcia who was gunning for a congressional seat in Rizal’s third district.
“We are confident that Secretary Mercado and general manager Artes will continue to oversee the completion of their departments’ programs and projects in the remaining months of the current government,” Roque said in a statement on Wednesday.
Mercado, a member of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party, was one of the House deputy majority leaders and among the vice-chairs of the committee on public works and highways. He also served as congressman between 1987 and 1991, from 1992 to 1998, from 2004 to 2013, and from 2016 up to the present. Republic Act No. 11198, approved in February 2019, split Southern Leyte province into two congressional districts. Mercado was expected to run for the first district in next year’s elections.
His son, Nacional, and brother Damian are the incumbent governor of Southern Leyte and the mayor of the provincial capital, Maasin City, respectively.
On Wednesday, Nacional posted on Facebook a photo of his father taking his oath of office before Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Mr. Duterte and Mercado both hail from Maasin City and studied law at San Beda College. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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