Fernandez to focus on urban poor, Tom takes early medical leave

Posted on October 23, 2012

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October 23, 2012

By Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

 

WITH his designation as Interior and Local Governments undersecretary, Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez will be tasked to work on his longtime advocacy, namely the welfare of the urban poor.

Fernandez, long-time ally of Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu’s south district met with Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas in Manila.

He said he will join Secretary Roxas in town visits in Pampanga province on Wednesday.

“The Secretary wanted me to focus on the basic sector especially the urban poor and the informal settlers bacause that is my expertise,” he said.

Fernandez said Roxas also wanted him to help in the campaign of Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III for a “bottoms up” budgeting process.

This campaign, he said, aims to connect the budget process to the basic sectors.

“Now is the opportune time to organize peoples gathering on Local Government Budget since LGUs are now in the process of preparing their 2013 appropriations,” he said.

On housing, Fernandez said the national government will assist local government units in their respective housing programs.

Fernandez said he won’t help facilitate DILG assistance in Cebu City especially in its housing program if Mayor Michael Rama won’t ask for it.

Both Rama and Fernandez clashed over the displacement of the settlers in Mahiga Creek after the mayor balked at the City Council’s proposal to provide relocation for them prior to demolishing their homes.

On comments that his appointment to DILG is a “payback” for his political ties with Osmeña, Fernandez said it cannot be avoided.

“But I think that I am also competent enough to handle the job assigned to me,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez was commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) during the administration of Aquino’s mother, the late president Cory Aquino.

Meanwhile Rep. Osmeña and his family left for the US last Sunday night for his regular checkup.

The congressman is supposed to have his check up in December yet.

But his wife and Councilor Margot Osmeña said they are doing his routine check earlier to take advantage of the recess in Congress and the City Council and the long-holiday during All Saints and All Souls Day.

Joining the couple who left Cebu last Sunday evening is their son Miguel.

Congressman Osmeña last had his medical check up at the Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas last June.

The Osmeñas are expected to return to Cebu in two weeks time.

 

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