Editorial: Bimbo should not be partisan-A A +A
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
FRANCISCO “Bimbo” Fernandez is qualified to hold a position in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)—there’s no doubt about that. Especially because the post that Secretary Mar Roxas gave him, while “glamorous” because the word “undersecretary” is attached to it, is certainly within his field of expertise.
Roxas announced last Sunday Fernandez’s appointment as DILG undersecretary with focus on informal settlers, persons with disabilities and labor. Fernandez, before he allowed himself to be sucked for a few years into the world of partisan politics, has advanced the cause of the informal settlers for years.
Bimbo once headed the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) during the presidency of President Noynoy Aquino’s mother Cory in the middle ‘80s. He is executive director of Pagtambayayong Foundation, which initiates low-cost housing and livelihood projects for the poor.
And if the influence of one’s wife matters, he is the husband of Tessie Fernandez, founder and executive director of Lihok-Pilipina Foundation, which advances the cause of women.
Bimbo’s stint as city administrator from 2004 to 2010 and his close association with Rep. Tomas Osmeña, who will tangle with Mayor Michael Rama in next year’s elections, have however tainted him in the eyes of Rama’s partisans and Osmeña’s critics.
Bimbo and Pagtambayayong, for example, were dragged into the conflict between Rama and Osmeña on the handling of Mahiga creek dwellers and the city’s informal settlers.
Pagtambayayong filed a case against Rama for demolishing structures of Mahiga Creek settlers, who, quite coincidentally, also got the support of Osmeña.
Not surprisingly, some sectors see the hand of Osmeña in Fernandez’s appointment to a department headed by Roxas, a political ally and friend of the south district congressman.
Incidentally, a Sun.Star Cebu report about Bimbo’s resignation in 2010 as city administrator had this interesting quote from Osmeña:
“Bimbo told me that he will resign. I don't know what his plans are but he can be in government if he wants, even at the national level. To me he's the best in the Philippines when it comes to dealing with the urban poor and housing matters. Jewel gyud na si Bimbo, it's very hard to find someone like him... Whatever he wants, I will make the recommendation."
Then again whether some personalities backed up Fernandez’s appointment to the DILG post or not won’t matter now. What will matter is how he will implement his task. The hope is that he will be objective and non-partisan.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 23, 2012.