Roxas gets shoutout at turnover of new police jeeps, fire trucks
MANILA, Philippines – He was nowhere near the Quezon Memorial Circle but Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II’s presence was still felt on Monday, April 4, during the turnover of new fire trucks and police patrol jeeps led by no less than President Benigno Aquino III.
On Monday, Aquino graced the turnover of 135 brand-new fire trucks and 144 new police patrol jeeps to several towns and cities from all over the country. Also present during the ceremony was incumbent Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, and the chiefs of the national police and fire bureau.
The Monday distribution is the latest release since the fire trucks and patrol jeeps were procured last year. Roxas was DILG secretary when the new trucks and jeeps were purchased and released. It was Roxas who used to lead the distribution of patrol jeeps all around the country. (READ: ‘No controversy’ in purchase of PNP patrol jeeps – Roxas)
"Mula noong maupo si Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas ay agad niyang tinugunan ang problema, binigyan ng budget, nagpabidding sa tamang proseso at ngayon, dagdag 469 fire trucks ang ipamamahagi sa iba't ibang bahagi ng bansa," the voiceover for a video presentation explaining the procurement said.
(When Mar Roxas was appointed DILG Secretary, he immediately addressed the problem, allocated a budget, and bid it out using the right process. Now 469 new fire trucks will be distributed all around the country.)
Roxas himself was in Caraga province, campaigning alongside his running mate Leni Robredo.
The DILG and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) explained through the video that in years prior, firefighters had a hard time combating fires because their trucks were dilapidated – or they had no trucks at all.
The purchase of the new trucks is part of the government's efforts to upgrade the capabilities of its peace and order bureaus. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the BFP are both under the DILG.
"Masalimuot ang dinatnan nating sitwasyon ng Bureau of Fire Protection. Dahil sa pagpapabaya ng ating sinundan at paglihis sa interes ng taumbayan, tila nakaligtaan ang mga pangangailangan ng inyong ahensya. Kulang na nga ang fire trucks, karamihan pa sa mga tangan natin, lumang-luma at kakarag-karag. Siyempre, dulot nito, palyadong serbisyo na higit na nailalapit sa peligro ang ating mga Boss, pati na ang ating mga bumbero," said Aquino in his speech.
(The situation in the BFP was dire. Because of the neglect of our predecessor and their refusal to heed the public's interest, they seemed to have forgotten the needs of your agency. Fire trucks were in want and most of the units we had were too old and too beaten up. Because of this, our firemen's service left a lot wanting and our bosses were exposed to more danger, our firemen included.)
Aquino said the aquisition of new trucks was started by the late Jesse Robredo, continued by Roxas and eventually, Sarmiento.
At least 1,000 more fire trucks will be needed throughout the country to meet the 1:28,000 fire truck-to-person ratio. The government's goal of having at least one vehicle for every city or municipality, meanwhile, has been met with the purchase of the new jeeps, the government said.
"Kita ang layo ng ating narating para sa BFP at PNP dito sa Daang Matuwid. Paano nga naman natin aasahang magagawa ninyo ang inyong trabaho, kung lagi ninyong kailangang diskartehan ang inyong pangangailangan? Tapos na nga po yung panahong 'Bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo.' Ngayon, talagang binibigyang lakas na kayo ng gobyerno para tuparin ang inyong mandato," added the President.
(It's clear how far the BFP and PNP have gone thanks to Daang Matuwid. How can we expect you to fulfill your mandate when you need to strategize your basic needs? The days of 'it's up to you' are over. Now, the government makes sure you're equipped to fulfill your mandate.)
Roxas was mentioned at least 4 more times during the video, via voiceover or testimonies from those who benefited from the new purchases.
The former DILG chief and LP standard-bearer made a cameo towards the end through a file video clip of one of his speeches.
"Walang pinilit, walang iniwan, at hindi tinanong kung ano ang puliitka, kung ano ang chaleko, kung sino ang nanalo sa bawat bayan na iyon. Pantay po ang pagtingin ng pamahalaan sa ating mga kababayan," said Roxas in what appeared to be one of several turnover ceremonies for the newly-acquired vehicles.
(Nobody was forced, nobody was left behind, nobody was asked about politics, or about the color of his part, or who won in that town. The government looks at our countrymen equally.)
Several cities were recipients of new patrol jeeps, including those headed by the LP's rivals such as Davao City and Tacloban City. Several allies' towns or cities were also given new patrol jeeps.
Roxas was appointed DILG secretary in 2012, replacing the late Robredo. He stayed until 2015, when he resigned after he announced his plans to run for president in 2016. Prior to the DILG post, Roxas was transportation secretary.
His successor, Sarmiento, was secretary-general of the ruling party. Aquino is party chairman. – Rappler.com
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