The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday announced it welcomes former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benjamin Abalos Jr. as the next DILG secretary.
“The DILG organization, including all of our attached agencies, welcomes the announcement that former MMDA chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. will be nominated and appointed as the next DILG secretary,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.
We have worked closely with chairman Abalos during the height of the pandemic, and we have seen how he ably steered the COVID-19 pandemic response in the National Capital Region which has resulted to the downward trend of coronavirus cases and the successful roll-out of the vaccination program in Metro Manila,” he added.
Año said they are confident that as a former mayor of Mandaluyong City and MMDA chairman, Abalos would be able to provide good direction and leadership to both the interior and local government sectors in scaling up their performance in peace and order, public safety and local governance for the benefit of the Filipino people.
“We are hopeful that chairman Abalos will continue and build on the ongoing campaign against criminality, illegal drugs, corruption and communist terrorism that we have focused on and which has reached unprecedented heights of accomplishment in the past six years,” the DILG chief said.
“We commit to work closely with him and his transition team for the smooth turnover of responsibilities especially with the implementation of full devolution to local government units (LGUs) which started this year,” he added.
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, spokesman of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., earlier announced that Abalos had already accepted the appointment being given to him.
In February, Abalos announced his resignation as MMDA chairman to work full time as national campaign manager of then presidential candidate Marcos. He was replaced by then MMDA general manager Romando Artes.
In May 2016 elections, Abalos also supported Marcos who ran for vice president, but lost to then congresswoman Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
Abalos, son of former Commission on Elections chairman and now Mandaluyong City mayor-elect Benjamin Abalos Sr, who also served as MMDA chairman for two years during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was also mayor of Mandaluyong City for 15 years.
His wife Carmelita Aguilar-Abalos, who is the incumbent mayor of Mandaluyong City, also won as vice mayor in the recently concluded May 9.