The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today welcomed the new Secretary Ismael "Mike" Sueno in a simple ceremony held Monday at the 8th Floor DILG NAPOLCOM Center, EDSA cor. Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.
The said event was attended by congressmen, governors, municipal and city mayors, DILG top management, DILG Regional and Provincial Directors, Bureau and Service Directors, and personnel from DILG and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).
Also in attendance were new Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Napolcom Vice-Chairperson Rogelio Casurao, Bureau of Fire Protection chief Rodrigo Abrazaldo, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology chief Deogracias Tapayan, Philippine Public Safety College president Ricardo de Leon, and Local Government Academy Executive Director Marivel Sacendoncillo.
During his keynote speech, Sec. Sueno expressed his honor and privilege to work with the Department.
“I am honored and privileged to work with the DILG family and its hardworking, committed and dedicated core of officials and personnel including our policemen, fire and jail officers. This is one agency that impacts the lives of our people in the developmental, peace and order, and public safety fronts,” he stated.
He also personally introduced the incoming Undersecretaries who will help him institute reforms and changes in DILG. They are Usec. Catalino Cuy, Usec. John R. Castriciones, Usec. Jesus V. Hinlo Jr., and Usec. Emily O. Padilla.
Three top priorities
The new DILG Secretary pointed out three main points as the top priorities under his administration. These include: safer communities that are away from the threat of criminals especially those peddling illegal drugs; peace and order at the barangay level; and shortening the processing of business licenses.
He also expounded his vision of empowering the barangay levels. He stated that with empowered barangays, it will be easier to solve the pressing problems of corruption and drugs.
“Palakasin natin ang ating mga barangay bilang pinakamaliit na yunit ng ating lipunan dahil kapag na-empower natin sila, magiging mas madali ang pagsugpo ng mga problema sa ating lipunan kagaya ng droga at korapsiyon,” he stated.
Messages of support
Key officials and personnel of the DILG expressed their support to the new DILG Secretary.
Assistant Secretary for Finance, Comptrollership and Administration Ester A. Aldana said, “Secretary Sueno is very down-to-earth, fatherly, and one can have no second thoughts in approaching him. His strengths in civil society organizations (CSOs) and community involvements are valuable to the DILG. We hope for the continuity of DILG programs, projects, and activities. At the same time, we support him in his mandate from the President in prioritizing peace and order.”
DILG Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) Director Manuel Q. Gotis gave a short walk down memory lane with Sec. Sueno.
“Malipayon nga pag-abot sa DILG, Secretary Mike! Sir, I always remember you as a humble gentleman and a progressive local leader of the late ‘80s to early ‘90s, whose ideology protects the vulnerable and the poor. We have missed you for more than two decades and we are so elated to see you back, this time, as the father of the DILG. We are at your back as we continue to nurture the potentials of every barangay, town, city and province to make this country more socially-protective, economically viable and safe for every Filipino. Upod ninyo kami sa reporma, Sec. Mike. We embrace the call for CHANGE!,” he said.
Director Rolyn Q. Zambales of the Office of Project Development Services also welcomed the change with a positive mindset.
“Welcome to the DILG Family Sec. Mike! Change has come, and it symbolizes new beginnings, relationship and learning. I am looking forward to our new relationship as partners, as we further change the lives of the people through our projects,” she said.
For his part, DILG OIC-Director of National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) Leocadio T. Trovela said, “We need his wisdom on local governance and knowledge on community mobilization and support. He knows the value of people’s participation as a former local chief executive. With his focus on barangay-level, the NBOO is challenged to meet or perhaps exceed his expectations from our Bureau.”
Vivian P. Suansing, President of Chiefs of Divisions Association (CODA) and BLGS OIC Assistant Director expressed her support on behalf of the division chiefs of the DILG Central and Regional offices.
“We welcome our new Secretary with our pledge of support to his leadership, along with our aspiration that he will continue to build on a culture of transparency, accountability and participation in governance, and incentivize premium performance, not only in local governments, but within this Department as well,” she said.
On the other hand, Celso M. Batalla, the National President of the DILG Employees Union, also expressed his hope for the members of the union members of DILG personnel.
“We hope that Secretary Sueno will be supportive of the DILG Employees Union because he knows the predicament of workers and those in the lower echelon,” Batalla said.