LIM HEADS DILG, MAR ROXAS IS TRADE CHIEF
Manila, Jan. 8, 2000- Responding to public clamor, President Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada announced Saturday the appointment of five new members of his Cabinet and the removal of all his presidential advisers, consultants and assistants without regular functions
Addressing the new members of his economic team as he delivered his Ulat sa Bayan (Report to the Nation) at Malacanang Palace, the President said, "You are to apply your combined ingenuity, creativeness and insight into improving the revenue collection performance of the government. We must raise the resources of government to meet our people’s high expectation and at the same time maintain a balanced budget."
Mr. Estrada said the appointment of new officials, who will occupy key posts in his administration, is part of his efforts to "reorganize and re-energize" the government.
New faces in the Estrada administration include Secretary Manuel Roxas II of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Secretary Alfredo Lim of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); Commissioner Ramon Farolan of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Commissioner Dakila Fonacier of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); and Ombudsman for Investments Teresita Flores.
The sixth appointee was Secretary Jose Pardo who was transferred from DTI to the Department of Finance as replacement for former DOF Secretary Edgardo Espiritu.
Pardo, as DOF secretary, will regain supervision over the Securities and Exchange Commission. The President re-transferred the SEC from the Office of the President to the DOF.
"I am also transferring the SEC from the Office of the President back to the DOF as an attached agency to that department," the President said.
Lim succeeded Ronaldo Puno. Farolan replaced former BOC Commissioner Nelson Tan and Fonacier, erstwhile BIR Commissioner Beethoven Rualo.
Flores’ post is a new one being created through Executive Order 180 that aims to attract more investments for sustaining the country’s economic growth. EO 180 abolishes the Council for Investments in Trade, Industry, Tourism, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Transportation and Communication and Services, and refocuses and strengthens the Investment One Stop Action Center to make it more responsive to the needs of investors.
The President said he has offered Puno the post of Philippine ambassador to the United Nations.
He also appointed Agustin Bengzon as replacement for Undersecretary Josefina Lichauco of the Department of Transportation and Telecommunications who had resigned.
The new appointees took their oaths of office before the President, who said he expects to form a "more powerful" team that will be able to deliver "more accomplishments this time."
Mr. Estrada described Fonacier as "a highly successful young entrepreneur," and Farolan as a "soldier and a man of untainted integrity, goes back to a post he once held with distinction."
He said Roxas is a "seasoned" investment banker even before he became a member of the House of Representatives from Capiz.
"Mayor Lim’s renowned experience in peace and order and in local government and his no-nonsense approach to his job should serve him well in his new position" he added.
The President thanked his erstwhile presidential advisers, consultants and assistants for their work, but asked them to "destroy and discard" all their calling cards and stationery bearing such titles. This part of his statement received much applause from the audience.
When asked about the extent of the advisers, consultants and assistants he had removed, he said they comprised about 90 percent of his aides. Most of them were on a P1-a-year salary, he added.
The Chief Executive stressed that his aides with line functions will not be removed, like the presidential adviser on national security and the presidential assistants for Visayas and Mindanao.
In explaining his appointment of new faces, the President said he was elected on the heels of the people’s high expectations but faced with severe limitations. The President also said he feels very bad when he finds he cannot immediately fulfill his promise to the people.
"Nararamdaman ko ang daing ng ating mga kababayan. Kung hindi naibigay ng pamahalaan ang inyong mga pangangailangan, sumasama ang aking kalooban. Ako ay nahihirapan kung kayo ay nabibigo. Kung nakita ko ang inyong paghihirap, lalong tumitindi ang aking pagnanais na ibigay ang inyong inaasahan. Isang bago at tapat na pamahalaan (I feel the pain of our people. When government cannot deliver, I feel bad)," he said.
The President also expressed gratitude to the former members of his Cabinet who, he said, had accepted a thankless job that entailed much sacrifice without much compensation.
He likewise advised the new faces in his Cabinet to prepare themselves for the bumpy road ahead, saying it is no joke to serve in the government.
"Mabigat ang trabaho nguni’t maliit ang sweldo. Malaki ang kanilang sakripisyo nguni’t mababa ang pagbibigay ng halaga sa kanila ng publiko. Tumatanggap sila ng pagpuna at batikos sa bawa’t kilos nguni’t wala naman silang natatanggap na natatanggap na papuri kung maganda ang kanilang ginagawa. Ganoon pa man sila ay patuloy pa rin sa paglilingkod nang tapat (Government officials must prepare to sacrifice while getting little respect from the public. They must be willing to bear harsh criticism and not get any praise for the good things they do)," he said.
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