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Mar Roxas set to pass on the leadership of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to Western Samar Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento in a turnover ceremony September 11) at the DILG headquarters in Quezon City.

As the new DILG Secretary, Sarmiento, who has more than two decades’ worth of experience in public service, is expected to bring his brand of leadership and good governance to the table in accordance with the tenets of the Aquino administration’s Daang Matuwid.

“Siya po ay marami pong mga award sa international, sa mga city, and metropolis development. Kaya nakikita po niya ‘yung mas malawak na perspektiba sa development ng isang local government,” Roxas said about his successor.

Sarmiento, who will be in charge of overseeing the local government units as well as the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, earlier announced that he is ready to "accept any challenge" that will enable the continuation of Daang Matuwid.

According to DILG Undersecretary for Local Governmnent Austere Panadero, the officials and employees of the department support Sarmiento’s appointment as they believe he would be able to sustain the reforms initiated by Roxas in the local government, peace and order, and public safety sectors.

"Just like his predecessors in the DILG, Secretary Sarmiento is very much qualified for the post, owing to his wide experience in government service both as a local chief executive and as a national legislator," said Panadero.

Sarmiento began serving the public as the vice mayor of Calbayog City from 1992 to 1995. Heeding the clamor of his constituents, he then served as mayor in 2001, holding the position for three consecutive terms. During his time as mayor, he was elected as the Secretary General of the League of Cities of the Philippines for two terms. He currently serves as the Secretary-General of the Liberal Party as well as the representative of the first district of Western Samar.

“Huwag kang magnakaw.”

This was the message of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, together with the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan and civil society organisations (CSOs) of Pangasinan, to those who engage in corrupt and illegal practices, under the close watch of the Ugandan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) program.

“Ang bawat bayan at syudad ay mayroong P15-20 milyong piso at ang taumbayan ang magsasabi kung ano ang pangangailangan ng tao, at kung saan nila gagamitin ang pera. Sila rin ang magbabantay kung natutupad ang mga proyektong ito,” Roxas said.

Roxas and the UBAS technical working group headed by Sr. Ampy Hilot discussed the updates on the composition of their group, and how they handle Barangay Action Team (BAT) formation, Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) project monitoring, Full Disclosure Policy feedbacks, and Peace and Order issues.

The secretary also met with Archbishop Socrates Villegas, to discuss the means to strengthen the campaign of the DILG and religious sector against corruption.

“Kita natin na ongoing ang implementation ng UBAS. Ang laki ng tuwa natin na tuloy tuloy ang ating programa para pangalagaan ang pera ng bayan,” Roxas said.

UBAS is a partnership between the barangays and the parishes to pool resources and synchronize efforts in the advocacy of good governance and the pursuit of projects and services for community development.

According to Roxas, UBAS is also part of the deliberate, programmatic, and sustained approach of the government to ensure that national and local governance is anchored on transparency and grassroots participation.

The event was attended by representatives of the Pangasinan clergy, officials from the DILG and LGUs, CSO representatives, police officers, city fire marshalls, and city wardens. #