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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Mar Roxas Presidency of 2016 (Philippines)
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas of the Philippines
Overview: The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
One of the most powerful agencies in the Philippines is the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The department was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 6975 that includes supervision and monitoring of the local government units (LGUs), urban poor, public safety, and Muslim affairs. The bureaus under it encompasses: local government development and supervision, barangay operations, project development services, and public affairs. It has six attached agencies that include: fire protection, the national police, jail management, and public safety, among others.
Shoes that is hard to fill
When the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash in 2012, many clamored to replace this multi-awarded public servant (Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, 2000), since the department is seen as a jumping board for higher position in the government, like the Presidency of the Philippines in 2016.
Amongst those who made known his intent to be DILG Secretary, is the current Philippine Vice-President, Jejomar Binay. The stalwarts of the Liberal Party where President Benigno C. Aquino III and the late Secretary belong, do not see it as something plausible. They knew what Binay is capable of doing if given a powerful department to head like the DILG.
Binay is not a member of the Liberal Party – hence, he was out of contention as far as the group was concerned. President Aquino had to appoint somebody whom he trusts; and what could be a better choice than his best friend and buddy, then Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas. Everybody in the party was happy with the appointment and the public accepted him without hesitation as the new head of the DILG.
Former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012)
Current DILG Secretary Mar Roxas: Springboard for the Presidency of 2016?
When Sec. Mar Roxas faced the media after his appointment, he looked disheveled and ill-fitted for the job; but, nevertheless accepted the position for political expediency, as some have guessed. Roxas was more into investment banking, having graduated from Wharton in the United States and dabbled into the fund mobilization of small to medium scale enterprises in the U.S., before coming back to the Philippines to make a run for Congress.
Roxas became a member of the House Representative of the 1St District of Capiz before being appointed as Trade Secretary by the former Philippine President, Joseph Estrada. He again joined the cabinet of President Gloria Arroyo in the same capacity before he made a run for the Senate in 2004. He garnered a vote of 19 million, the highest number of vote gotten by a national candidate in any Philippine election, that year.
Disaster Relief Operation by the DSWD and the DILG
Poll on Secretary Mar Roxas
Is Mar Roxas doing a good job as DILG Secretary?
Mar Roxas was a leading contender for the 2010 Presidential election, but gave way to fellow Senator Benigno Aquino III when he was catapulted into the Presidency upon the death of his mother, democracy icon, Cory Aquino. He skidded down to Vice-Presidential (VP) candidate of Aquino, in an election where the party focus was more on making the party’s presidential bet win. Everybody expected Roxas to win hands-down, and was a shoo-in for the VP position. The campaign focused more on Aquino, who was getting a wallop from strong candidates, like former President Joseph Estrada and then Senator Manuel Villar.
The result was a win for Aquino with 15 Million votes as against his nearest rival, Joseph Estrada with 9 million votes. Binay defeated Roxas by 700,000+ votes, the 2ndnarrowest margin in Philippine election history. Though Mar Roxas has filed an election protest, his present post as DILG Secretary, kept his hands full of problems affecting LGUs, calamities, and police matters.
Site Visit of Conflict Area at Zamboanga City
Problems Faced by the DILG
Local Government Units
Bureau of Jail and Penology
Natl Police/Fire Protection
Check and Balance of Funds
Claims of special priviledge to some inmates
Wanton killings in the streets
Monitoring of Services
Humane treatment of prisoners
Better police presence in the community
Faster feedback during calamities
Increase budget for jail management
Immediate response when there is fire
Important Facts about the Dept. of the Interior (DILG)
- It is one among the first government department created by the revolutionary government or the Tejeros Convention of March 22, 1897;
- Emilio Aguinaldo was elected as first president of the revolutionary government and Andres Bonifacio, leader of the Magdiwang faction of the Katipunan, was elected as the Director of the Interior. An objection to his election led to the walk-out of the entire Magdiwang faction;
- The Biak na Bato Convention of November 1, 1897 defined the powers and functions of the department;
- The Interior Department was among the first departments created under the American regime of 1901;
- The reorganized department, under Republic Act 6975 of December 13, 1990, expanded the functions of the department to include the National Police Commission, and all bureaus and operating units under the Department of Local Government.
Problems Faced by the Department
The DILG is faced with many problems. The rainy season that starts in June, would need skillful handling in the department to lessen the number of deaths when typhoons hit the country. The evacuation sites should be set up and hordes of people evacuated when an impending typhoon is seen to strike. When the rains become unabated, it could lead to towns and barrios being submerged in water. There should be proper monitoring of the DILG group that there is enough pumped boats to help save residents who may be stuck on the rooftops of their homes, when rampaging waters hit their areas.
Residents who live near collapsing boulders should be evacuated when there is an impending heavy rainfall or a typhoon as these could collapse and destroy everything along its path. LGU’s should be given instructions, that the residents along the bay areas or bodies of water, should be evacuated at once; and for them to sound off a tsunami alert, to stave off deaths when the waters begin to rise at precarious levels.
Among the other problems faced by the DILG Secretary are police matters that can destroy the complacency of the nation. The reckless shooting of bystanders in Quezon City, the wanton shootings of journalists, the plight of farmers in the countryside, and the monitoring of internal control to ensure that LGU funds are properly used and within the bounds of the law, are just some of the few problems that the department faces. .
If DILG Secretary Mar Roxas plays his cards well, he can be a force to reckon with in the next Presidential election of 2016. He should be forthright in his actions when there are disasters, and avoid embarrassing situations like his non-payment of golf fees in one upscale golf club in Metro Manila, that was all in the news recently. As a politician, he should look like somebody who can empathize with the people that he wants to serve and not act or look high and mighty, when there is no need for it.
He should look friendly, accommodating, sincere, as well as follow the Liberal Party’s battle cry of “Daang Matuwid” (the straight path). Doing what is politically right, might just be his next springboard towards the Presidency of 2016.
Update on the Philippine Political Front, Sept 30, 2014
The DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, is the presumptive Liberal Party presidential candidate for 2016. The Pulse Asia survey has consistently shown him at the far end of front liner, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
However, the recent survey by Pulse Asia, showed an emerging trend where Binay's numbers went down to 31 percent, a decline of 10 percent from 41 percent. On the other hand, Roxas' increased to 13 percent, almost double of the 7 percent rate that he got from a previous survey by Pulse Asia..
President Noynoy Aquino has not yet identified the Liberal Party's candidate, but party mates are confident that given the President's blessings, DILG Secretary Roxas' numbers will gallop up to overtake Binay's lead in the polls.
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