Aquino confirms Roxas is new DILG chief

ROXAS AND ABAYA. Newly appointed Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II (left) delivers his message after President Benigno S. Aquino III officially announced his appointment along with Cavite 1st District Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya (right) as incoming Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary at Malaca├▒ang on Friday.

MANILA – President Aquino confirmed on Friday the appointment of Transportation and Communications Sec. Mar Roxas as the new chief of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Roxas’s appointment came almost two weeks after the demise of former DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo, who died on August 18 after the plane carrying him crashed in the waters off the coast of Masbate.

“We need a person with a similar goal. We need someone who will push for the same principles we fight for… I trust (Mar). Whatever happens, I know he will continue our fight,” Aquino said in Filipino.

Meanwhile, assuming Roxas’s post in the DOTC is Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya.

“A good leader must assume (Mar’s) post in DOTC. And we trust the skills of Jun Abaya,” Aquino said.

The President is a member of the Liberal Party where Roxas is the chair and Abaya is the secretary general.

“I am a part of the Liberal Party. Our agenda is what this administration forwards,” Aquino said. “We are asking Congress to confirm Mar and Jun immediately.”

Replying to the president, Roxas said he will do his best to not disappoint Aquino and the people.

“I have big shoes or big tsinelas to fill,” Roxas said. “Transparency, accountability, people empowerment are the hallmarks of Sec. Jesse’s leadership. This is what we will continue.”

Roxas’s marching orders include taking over the reforms implemented by Robredo and close coordination with the allied services of the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Aquino said.

Meanwhile, the president said Abaya is aware of the DOTC’s projects which include the rehabilitation of the country’s airports and expressways.

Talking about allegations of the appointments being a political move to boost Roxas’s presidential bid, Aquino said critics are present either way and Roxas is very capable for the job.

Roxas, for his part, said he is not thinking about the elections in the meantime.

“I can only succeed, whether at DOTC or in DILG, if 2016 or any other electoral position is not in my mind,” he said.