Co-Sponsorship Speech: Confirmation of the Ad Interim Appointment of Hon. Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr. as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government

September 19, 2022

Co-Sponsorship Speech

Confirmation of the Ad Interim Appointment of

Hon. Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr.

as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government

Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines

14 September 2022


Mr. President, I have the honor of co-sponsoring the confirmation of the ad-interim appointment of the Hon. Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos Jr. as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Secretary Benhur Abalos, a lawyer by profession, is a visionary and servant leader with great executive ability, who leads by doing and who is competent in every way. With his well-known governance trademark, he is capable of strengthening local government capability and scaling up peace, order, and public safety, especially as the country enters a better normal.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary of the DILG, he served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) at a time when public health, the economy, and public safety were fragile and faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. While solving the perennial problems in the region, Chairman Abalos effectively coordinated with Metro Manila’s seventeen (17) local chief executives for their policy recommendations, which complemented the pandemic response efforts of the national government.

Under the helm of Benhur Abalos as Mayor and Congressman of Mandaluyong City, the public saw how this once-sleepy town has metamorphosed into a business-friendly, dynamic, livable, child-friendly, environment-safe, and people-centered city. He created a vision for the city to be economically competitive and relentlessly pursued its realization. In a study conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center, Mandaluyong emerged as a “new tiger city”. He was also awarded the Outstanding City Mayor by the Senate of the Philippines.

He is known for being a staunch advocate of peace and order. He advocated for increased efforts to combat cybercrime, human trafficking, and illegal substances. His foray into politics as councilor in the 1st district of Mandaluyong, where he chaired the Committee on Laws, Peace and Order and Public Safety, influenced his interest in this area.

Fondly called Benhur, Secretary Abalos has always been recognized for his passion to serve the people, his being results-oriented, and his legal acumen. Because of his knowledge of the breadth and depth of bureaucracy, he has always been invited as a lecturer at the National College of Public Administration and Governance, the Development Academy of the Philippines, and the Local Government Academy. During his time as Mayor of Mandaluyong City, he also served as President of the League of Cities of the Philippines and President of the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines.

Under his stewardship, Mandaluyong received the Presidential Award for Most Child-Friendly City in the country; was conferred the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance; was hailed as the Most Business-Friendly City in the Philippines; and was recognized as one of the Top Performing Cities Based on Locally Generated Revenues.

The city was conferred the renowned Seal of Good Local Governance by the DILG for meeting all criteria, which include Good Financial Housekeeping; Social Protection; Disaster Preparedness; Business-friendliness and Competitiveness; Environmental Management; and Peace and Order. In 2013, Mandaluyong City was recognized by the Galing Pook Foundation for Outstanding Local Governance Programs for its innovative approaches and positive impact on the people and the community.

In 2015, Secretary Benhur Abalos’ passion project “Project Therapy, Education, and Assimilation of Children with Handicap (TEACH)” was recognized and bestowed with the United Nations Public Service Award. He was also awarded the Pioneering Leader in Green Building Program by the International Finance Corporation World Bank and adopted by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

President, having read his professional experience and accomplishments, I believe he can navigate the interior and local government sectors in both steady and uncertain waters. No doubt, he is public service personified. In my view, he is eminently suitable as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.

Thank you, Mr. President.