'Roxas needs to improve people skills'

By Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 31 2012 11:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 01 2012 10:25 AM

Umali says new DILG chief good for 'daang matuwid'

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-appointed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas is the best person to replace the late Jesse Robredo, according to the president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, Alfonso Umali.

Umali, who is also the governor of Mindoro Oriental, welcomed the appointment of Roxas as DILG chief, saying he has the right qualities for the position.

“Pagdating sa qualification at sa kanyang galing at sa kanyang pagiging matuwid, kami ay nagkakaisa na siya ang karapat-dapat sa pwestong iyan,” Umali told ANC’s “Top Story" on Friday.

Umali said he sees in Roxas “unquestionable integrity,” similar to what Robredo exuded when he was DILG secretary.

However, Umali noted that Roxas will have to improve his people skills, something Robredo had mastered.

“[Si Mar] mayroong abilidad sa pakikipag-usap, pagiging derecho at matuwid, pwede na 'yon. Nasa sa kanya nalang kung paano niya mai-improve ang kanyang pakikisalamuha sa ating kababayan,” he said.

But Umali is confident that both Roxas and newly-appointed Transportation and Communications chief Joseph Emilio Abaya will continue the late secretary’s legacy of good governance.

“Matitiyak natin na matutuluy-tuloy ang maayos na pamamahala sa ating bansa,” he said.

Umali also said he believes that Roxas will not use his position in the DILG for any political motive.

As DILG secretary, Roxas would have influence over the police and local government units which, analysts say, would be a crucial advantage in the 2013 elections.

The 55-year-old Roxas, who was appointed by President Benigno Aquino on Friday, will take over the position vacated by Robredo, who died in a plane crash last August 18.

Replacing Roxas as DOTC secretary is Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, who is on his last term as congressman.

Roxas is the president of the Liberal Party while Abaya is the party’s secretary-general.