CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza both welcomed the appointment of former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas as the new secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
President Benigno “Noy-noy” Aquino III appointed Roxas to replace Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash last Aug.18.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), in a separate interview, said he is still grieving the loss of Robredo, whom he considered his personal friend.
He said Roxas is also a friend, but the latter is not as decisive as Robredo.
For Mayor Rama, Roxas, who is also the Liberal Party (LP) president, was a good choice because of his vast experience in governance, as well as in congressional work.
“I will always of the conclusion that he has that behavioral requirement, human relation, full understanding about local autonomy and we should give him a round of applause,” said Rama, who is also an LP member.
Mayor Radaza, for her part, pointed out that the new DILG secretary hails from a line of respected public servants.
“He will be able to inspire chief executives of towns, cities and provinces to advocate good governance,” she said.
Osmeña described Roxas as competent, a technocrat, a decent man and a good listener.
But the congressman said it’s very hard for the former senator to duplicate what Robredo had done in government service.
“I’m not trying to take anything away from Mar, but no one comes close to Jesse. No one in the Philippines,” Osmeña said.
Roxas has admitted he has big shoes to fill and could never match what Robredo did at the DILG for three years.
Malacañang said Roxas will continue the programs started by Robredo.
The President also appointed Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya to replace Roxas as transportation secretary.
Earlier, Radaza said Aquino should appoint as new DILG chief someone who has the same concern for local government units (LGUs) as Robredo.
“The President has to pick somebody who can understand the situation of LGUs,” she said in a recent news conference.
Rama had suggested that former tourism secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano be counted among the candidates for the next DILG secretary.
Radaza hailed Robredo for implementing good programs, such as the granting of the Seal for Good Housekeeping to LGUs that practice transparency and accountability.
Robredo also pushed for the streamlining of business licensing system of every LGUs. Because of this, Lapu-Lapu has raised its revenue collection by seven percent, she said.
Last Aug. 18, a light plane carrying Robredo crashed in the waters off Masbate, killing him, Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand.