Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Palace appoints Ochoa as DILG OIC

Malacanang has appointed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa as the interim chief of the Department of Interior and Local Government. Ochoa was named officer-in-charge of the agency, following the demise of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, according to reports quoting Palace Communications official Ricky Carandang. Meanwhile, DILG assured the public that projects initiated by the late Secretary will still push through. "Pakiramdam ko nabigyan niya [Robredo] kami ng ample guidance at patuloy naming susundin 'yun (I think he provided us ample guidance, which we will continue to follow)," said Ariel Tanangonan, officer in-charge of the DILG Office of Public Affairs. Tanangonan admitted that there will be a "lull in the DILG" after Robredo's death. He noted, however, that other DILG officials with whom Robredo worked closely will "definitely continue implementing reforms he iniatiated." Asked about the last program Robredo worked on, Tanangonan said: "Sabay-sabay po ang maraming projects na pinagkakaabalahan ni Sec. Robredo (Sec. Robredo took on many projects simultaneously)." Among these programs is the ramped up implementation of the "Seal of Good Governance" program, which recognizes local governments' effective provision of public services. "One of the important criteria under the program is full disclosure of financial transactions of the local government," Tanangonan said. He added that Robredo envisioned the program as a mechanism to eradicate corruption at the local level. A local governance stalwart, Robredo has been a long-time mayor of Naga City prior to his stint at the DILG,. Through his administration's reforms, including a crackdown on illegal gambling and a wider citizen participation on policy-making, Naga City became a first-class city from being a third-class city. Meanwhile, although he took the reins of the DILG in July 2010 in an acting capacity, Robredo's appointment to the Aquino Cabinet remained unconfirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) to his dying day. The ad interim appointment announced by President Benigno Aquino III in July 2011 has been set for Wednesday next week, Senator Franklin Drilon, a member of the CA, told reporters Tuesday. "Alam niya 'yun, at alam niya na kinausap natin ang ating mga kasamahan upang mapabilis ang confirmation (He knew that he was up for confirmation and that I have spoken with my colleagues to speed up the process)," Drilon said. The lack of confirmation notwithstanding, Robredo was a "great boss" who showed "genuine concern and willing to help others," Tanangonan said. "Sec. Robredo is a big loss not only to the DILG but to the nation as a whole," he added.