President Benigno S. Aquino III’s marching order to newly-appointed Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II is to ensure “orderly” elections in 2013.
This was stated by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in a press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday.
Valte said that with Roxas’ temporary leave from the Liberal Party presidency, the DILG secretary will have more time to concentrate on local security measures to ensure peaceful elections next year.
Such measures, she said, include the dismantling of private armies all over the country, which is believed to be numbering to 80.
Valte said the President’s target is to make next year’s midterm polls free from election-related violence as possible.
Roxas, who assumed office on Monday as DILG chief, said his top priority is the fight against crime.
While there is an improvement in the crime rate nationwide, he acknowledged that much need to be done in Metro Manila.
“The job given by the President is a serious job, and I will seriously do this,” he said.
Roxas also encouraged free and open communication within the department and vowed to build on the programs and reforms initiated by his predecessor, the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash off Masbate waters last August.
With regards to his temporary leave as LP president, the DILG chief said it was the prudent thing to do since the Philippine National Police, which will be directly under his supervision, would be deputized to help in the forthcoming polls.
Roxas said this would also avoid any perceived conflict between his duties at the DILG and his party role, and he could entirely focus on his new job.