Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Monday named two new undersecretaries to his agency, whose positions were created under his leadership. At a press briefing, Roxas said current Transportation Undersecretary for Operations Rafael Santos will be transferred to the DILG as “supervising undersecretary.” Santos previously worked with Roxas, who was DOTC chief before his stint at the DILG. He also confirmed the appointment of civil society leader Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez as undersecretary who will focus on informal settlers, persons with disabilities and labor sectors. Roxas succeeded Jesse Robredo, who died following a plane crash off Masbate in August. Roxas said he is still searching for an undersecretary for public safety, although it was not clear if it is the same position left vacant by then-Undersecretary for peace and order Rico Puno. The appointment of the two DILG undersecretaries came more than a month after Puno
his post. Puno, who used to be in-charge of police matters, resigned after he was embroiled in controversy regarding alleged anomalies in gun deals, as well as his alleged involvement in the illegal numbers game, jueteng. Roxas likewise said that Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero will keep his post despite the change in the agency’s leadership. Santos, Fernandez
Santos will be in-charge of DILG’s administrative, legal, financial and other special concerns, Roxas said.
Fernandez was the head of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of incumbent President Benigno Aquino III.
The newly-appointed official also worked as Cebu City administrator, and currently heads the Cebu-based civil society group Pagtambayayong Foundation Inc., which helps provide low-cost housing and livelihood to grassroot communities.
Both undersecretaries, who will occupy newly-created posts, will assist in the drafting of the DILG’s 2014 budget, which Roxas said will employ the “bottom-up” approach.
“Manggagaling sa local government units ang kanilang pangangailangan. Sila ang magsasabi kung ano talaga ang hugis ng programa na kakailanganin nila. Bubuuin ito, icoconsolidate at ipapasa sa ating national government agencies,” Roxas said. — With Andreo Calonzo/RSJ, GMA News