MANILA — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Saturday welcomed the planned appointment of his successor, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr.
"We have worked closely with Chairperson 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," Año said in a statement.
The camp of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. announced on Friday that Abalos, who managed the former senator's 2016 and 2022 campaigns, will be leading the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"Chairman Benhur Abalos has been nominated to lead the Department of the Interior, and he has accepted the challenge to lead the Department of the Interior and Local Government," Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez had said.
Año said that Abalos' experience as former Mandaluyong City Mayor and MMDA chair will help him lead the DILG, which is expected to take place starting June 30 when Marcos is inaugurated to the presidency.
"We are confident that as a former City Mayor of Mandaluyong and MMDA Chairperson, Abalos will 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," he said.
"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," he added.
The outgoing secretary noted that he will be working closely with Abalos and his transition team for a "smooth turnover of responsibilities."
Rodriguez earlier announced that the Marcos-Duterte transition will comprise of himself, Abalos, former house lawmakers Anton Lagdameo and Naida Angpin, as well as South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr.
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