MANILA, Philippines – “I have big shoes or big tsinelas (slippers) to fill.”
Newly appointed Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Mar Roxas paid tribute to his friend, the late Secretary Jesse Robredo as he accepted his appointment as DILG chief.
In a press conference in Malacañang on Friday, August 31, Roxas thanked President Benigno Aquino III for choosing him to succeed Robredo. He admitted that his new post will not be easy, with Robredo’s legacy looming over him.
During Robredo’s wake, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras praised Robredo for “tsinelas leadership,” a literal and figurative reference to Robredo’s leadership that reaches out to ordinary people.
“Hindi po ako si Jesse Robredo. Kumpara sa kanya, marami po akong mga kakulangan. Subalit maasahan po na gagawin ko ang lahat sa abot ng aking makakaya upang mabigyang respeto ang legasiya ni Secretary Jesse,” Roxas said. (I am not Jesse Robredo. Compared to him, I have many shortcomings. But you can expect that I will do everything I can to honor the legacy of Secretary Jesse.)
Roxas said he will continue the principles Robredo promoted as head of the DILG.
“Transparency, accountability, people empowerment, including the ordinary people in decision-making of the local government and even the national government – these are the hallmarks of Secretary Jesse’s leadership and we will continue all these,” Roxas said in Filipino.
Roxas thanked Robredo’s widow, Leni Robredo, for supporting him as he takes over his husband’s government post. Roxas was a close friend of Robredo and a partymate in the Liberal Party (LP)
Cavite Rep Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya is taking over as DOTC secretary.
‘I don’t give 2016 much thought’
Roxas was asked whether or not his new position will help him prepare for his reported 2016 presidential bid. Roxas is the president of the Liberal Party.
“I don’t give it much thought. I know I can only succeed and I told this to the President, I will only be successful and I can only succeed whether at DOTC or now in DILG if all thoughts of 2016 or any other electoral position was removed from my mind.”
Roxas said he will not be able to decide on issues well if he just has the elections in mind.
Recovering from shellshock
The new DILG chief also responded to questions about his priorities in office.
“First, to recover from shellshock. I don’t think Secretary Jun, myself or even the President thought of this. When we went to Masbate, search and rescue was our frame of mind,” said Roxas.
Now that the thought will have to sink in, Roxas said his focus will be to serve at the pleasure of the President.
“Habang tinitimon ng Pangulo ang barko ng bansa, karangalan ko po na makisagwan sa kanya sa pagtulong sa kanyang agenda,” Roxas said. (While the President is steering the ship of the nation, it is my honor to help him row in pushing for his agenda.) – Rappler.com
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