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Aquino appoints new DILG undersecretary

July 5, 2010 2:32pm

President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who is also the current Interior and Local Government secretary, has appointed a new undersecretary for peace and order.

Rico Escalona Puno, the first Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary to be appointed by President Aquino, assumed his post on Monday, a statement released by the department said.

Puno, who served as the President’s staff since he was a congressman and senator, will replace outgoing Undersecretary Marius Corpus.

The new DILG undersecretary also served as President Aquino’s consultant in the Senate as officer for public order and safety, economic affairs and in local governance, as well as liaison officer for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces, the statement said.

Among Puno’s responsibilities include supervising operations of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). These two bureaus were under the office of outgoing Undersecretary Corpus.

“In our effort to professionalize the two bureaus, we introduced some changes through Republic Act 9263, which equalize the pay of BFP and BJMP officials and personnel at par with the PNP; elevated positions at the BFP and BJMP, so that regional directors of BFP and BJMP are now full-fledge regional directors," Corpus said in his farewell message during turnover ceremonies in Quezon City.

Corpus also said that it was under his watch that a new Fire Code of the Philippines was passed into law, which enabled the BFP to modernize through the use of the fire code fees.

At the BJMP, new district, city and municipal jail were constructed nationwide, and inmates were able to exercise their right of suffrage adding, that in the last May 10 elections, around 17,000 inmates nationwide were able to vote.

“I hope that the two bureaus will continue their process of professionalization, and I believe they will be in good hands with the leadership of Undersecretary Puno," Corpus said.

For his part, the incoming new Undersecretary assured DILG officials and personnel, particularly at the BFP and BJMP, that he will continue the implementation of programs and projects at the two bureaus, as well as upgrade their facilities especially equipment to improve their services.

“We will try to implement the programs and projects in the way usec Corpus has done under his watch," he said. - RJAB Jr/KBK, GMANews.TV
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