Año ‘surprised’ at DILG appointment
First published: 7:06 p.m., May 10, 2017
The announcement that he would be the next secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) came as a surprise to Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He was told last week that there was talk that he was being eyed for a government position after his mandatory retirement on Oct. 26. But he did not expect an announcement to be made so soon.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself made the announcement in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Wednesday afternoon, before he boarded his flight to Cambodia, where he would attend the World Economic Forum on Asean.
“I want him to complete… because there are projects which he has to… No, at this time, you cannot just pull out somebody in the Armed Forces, especially those who tasked of programming what will happen next. And the remedies that we are supposed to be ready,” Duterte said.
It was not clear if he would want Año to complete his deadline to finish off the Abu Sayyaf within six months or complete his term as military chief.
The President said he would want a military man for the job because of his problems with the police.
“Kailangan ko kasi I have a problem with the police,” he said. “And a military man, halos pare-pareho lang ‘yan ng… Except that the police can really… So you need one, somebody, who knows the police by the fingertips of his hand.”
Año had no idea as to when he would assume his post. But he said he would start preparing for the job.
“Kung ano yung dalhin sa ating trabaho, kung makapag-contribute tayo, then I will do my best to prepare pero bigla-bigla kasi eh……What I’ll do is prepare…if it’s earlier than October of course I have to retire early,” he said.
“Wala pang specific date kung kelan,” he added. “I will still continue and focus on my job as chief of staff. We still have a lot of task to do.”
Asked about what he would leave behind to his successor, Año said: “I don’t believe in legacy, kasi parang, you just want to be known for something. I don’t want to be known for something but somebody who served and led the Armed Forces and achieved whatever accomplishments together with everyone in the field.”
“Hindi naman ako (naniniwala) dyan sa legacy kasi ang pag-assume mo naman as chief of staff meron ka namang programang sinusundan. It’s a continuing effort naman e, yan naman ang dynamism ng organization,” the AFP chief added.
Duterte’ announcement that Año would be the next DILG chief quashed speculations that former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., would take over the post.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Matikas” Class of 1983, Año will be the latest AFP official in the Duterte Cabinet.
On Monday, Duterte named former AFP chief Roy Cimatu as the head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Other former military chiefs in Duterte’s Cabinet are National Irrigation Administration head Ricardo Visaya and national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon.
Año would be the second AFP chief to head the DILG after the late Angelo Reyes, who served from 2004 to 2006./ac/atm/rga
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