Cebuano lands DILG post

Posted on October 20, 2012

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Another Cebuano has been appointed to the Aquino administration.

Franciso “Bimbo” Fernandez, former Cebu City administrator, was named Undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) over the weekend.

As DILG undersecretary, Fernandez is tasked to serve as liaison to basic sectors in line with his long experience as a community organizer.

“I will be seeing the DILG Secretary on Monday to work out our arrangements and see how I fit in because I’m new,” Fernandez told Cebu Daily News.

Fernandez said he will be working as the Secretary’s liaison to the urban poor, labor and other basic sectors.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the appointment papers last Friday but Fernandez said he hasn’t received a copy yet.

Fernandez, 52, used to head the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor during the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino,.

He also helped campaign for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III and other Liberal Party candidates in the 2010 elections.

It was Roxas who invited the Cebuano to join his team and offered the post on Oct. 8, “but I told him I would have to think about it.”

Fernandez said he had to consult his wife Tessie, a women’s rights advocate who is founder and executive director of Lihok Filipina and their children.

“I don’t like living in Manila but I am also inspired by the legacy left by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo. I wanted to help continue that legacy so I accepted the offer,” he said.

He told Roxas his decision when they met again on Oct. 16 with Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district.

Osmeña, who’ll run for Cebu City mayor next year, is also the LP Cebu City chairman.

When Osmeña was city mayor, Fernandez was his alter ego as city administrator for six years.

He resigned in May 2010 just before the start of Mayor Michael Rama’s term.

Their relationship goes back to the early 1980s when Osmeña first entered local politics after living in the US for several years.

It was Fernandez who helped Osmeña establish his support base among the city’s urban poor, a factor evident in the strong barangay -based network of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) today.

Fernandez is executive director of the Cebu-based Pagtambayayong Foundation Inc. which assists grassroots communities through low-cost housing and livelihood.

“Pagtambayayong has no dealings with DILG but in case conflict of interest will arise, that is the time that I will have to decide whether there is a need for me to resign from DILG or Pagtambayayong,” said Fernandez yesterday. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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