PNoy not too keen on appointing presidential assistants in regions

9/16/2010 - Cebu City (16 September) -- President Benigno Aquino III said he is not too keen on appointing an alter ego of his office in the regions.

During an informal media interaction with the local press yesterday in Cebu, he was asked whether a Presidential Assistant for Central Visayas will be appointed soon, of which he replied in the negative.

"There are so many undersecretaries and assistant secretaries plus their staff and if we install presidential assistants in the regions, this would entail additional costs to the government. We are trying to cut down costs and streamline personnel. We want a clear output why they are put there in the first place," Aquino emphasized.

The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Central Visayas was created during the time of former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos and was continued during the term of the two succeeding presidents --- ex Pres. Joseph Estrada and former Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo.

Presidential assistants for other regions were also appointed but all positions are co-terminus with the President.

Pres. Aquino was pressed further on what would now become of the Malacañang sa Sugbo (MSS) dubbed as the Presidential residence in the South.

"There is a proposal to convert it to a museum but we will see. I believe many have expressed interests to use the place. For me, I do not need to use it as I am a bachelor and when I visit Cebu, all I need is just a room," according to the President.

A reporter informed Pres. Aquino of the desire of the Bureau of Customs (BOC-7) to get back the place as they are renting millions for their present office. The MSS used to be the office of the BOC-7 before former Pres. Arroyo decided to use it as the presidential residence.

"We will see. I have to check on the legalities first before deciding what to do with the Malacañang sa Sugbo (MSS)," Pres. Aquino explained.

The Yellow Army Movement, a group of youth supporters for the Noynoy-Mar Volunteers in Cebu also requested the President to use a portion of the MSS for their office.

The President meanwhile, said he is interested in giving a position to defeated Liberal Party Cebu gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III after the ban expire mid-next year.

"Junjun Davide will have a position in my cabinet next year. His father, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. is heading the Truth Commission," Aquino disclosed.

The interaction with the media came as a surprise as shortly after the Regional Economic Managers' Briefing and Dialogue, Pres. Aquino joined the Cebu media together with some members of the Malacañang Press Corps. in an adjoining room for a brief informal interaction.
(PIA)

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