The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed the ad-interim appointment of Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and four senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
No commission member objected when a motion to approve Avisado’s ad-interim appointment was presented by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, head of the commission’s Committee on Budget and Management.
Senator Panfilo Lacson told Avisado to continue what he had been doing, particularly on the national budget.
“He [President Rodrigo Duterte] cannot do it without your input and wise counsel. Please continue what you started,” Lacson said.
Meanwhile, the CA also confirmed the ad-interim appointments of Roberto T. Ancan to the rank of Lieutenant General Simeon Z. Felix Jr. to the rank of Major General Fernando M. Reboja to the rank of Brigadier General Maning S. Tawantawan to the rank of Brigadier General.
Duterte has appointed National Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director Eric Bito-on Distor as the agency’s officer-in-charge following the retirement of Director Dante Gierran, Malacañang announced Wednesday.
An appointment letter signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea showed that Distor’s appointment had been effective on Feb. 23 “until a replacement is appointed or until otherwise” directed by his office.
“There is a new officer-in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation following the retirement of the director. It's Mr. Eric Bito-on Distor effective February 23,’’ Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
Lacson reminded Avisado about his earlier remarks about withholding P84 billion because it did not undergo the usual budget evaluation process.
“What do you mean by usual budget evaluation process?” Lacson said.
“Don’t get me wrong. I already lauded you for withholding the release of the P84 billion because it is my belief there is a sound reason for withholding such budgetary allocation.”
Avisado told the CA hearing that more than P80 billion in congressional realignments from the 2020 national budget had been withheld by the Budget department in line with Duterte’s order to carefully vet the items.
He noted that all government projects to be included in the National Expenditures Program must first secure the recommendation of the Regional Development Council.
He also promised to review the government procurement processes to ensure the efficient release of funds, and to sit down with various agencies to reconcile the unfilled permanent positions in the government and the efforts to regularize contractual workers in the public service.
Avisado, who has been acting secretary of the agency since August 2019, was confirmed during the Commission’s plenary session on Wednesday presided over by the commission’s chairman, Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Zubiri proudly called the Surigao-born Avisado “a product of Mindanao.”
He thanked Avisado for providing assistance to the Ministry of Finance, and Budget and Management of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the crafting of the first-ever Bangsamoro Expenditure Program.
Senator Christopher Go said the newly confirmed DBM chief “knows how the President works and how he wants things done.”
He commended Avisado’s commitment to hasten the government’s budget process, saying “There is a need to rationalize the requirements when it comes to the budget process. I commend Secretary Avisado for his commitment to hasten the process.”
Reiterating his full support, Go said he was “positive that the DBM is in good hands with Secretary Avisado at its helm.”
“He brings not only competence but, more importantly, integrity and hard work into the DBM.”
Avisado entered the government service in 1986 and went on to occupy various leadership positions in the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the City of Davao.
He previously served as Davao City administrator from 2004 to 2010 under then-Mayor Duterte.
In 2010, Avisado was appointed to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council as assistant secretary to then HUDCC chairman and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
In 2016, he began his service as Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns under the Duterte administration.
In his time as acting secretary of the DBM, he had seen to the swift enactment of the 2020 National Budget and of Republic Act 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law 5. With MJ Blancaflor
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