Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento on Saturday thanked President Benigno Aquino 3rd for giving him the opportunity to serve the country as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Sarmiento said he was hesitant at first to accept the position when it was first offered to him by Aquino in September last year.
“I was reluctant to accept the offer for two main reasons: First, I will be filling in really big pairs of shoes (and tsinelas) left by Secretaries Mar Roxas and Jesse Robredo. Second, assuming the DILG post would mean abandoning my position as representative of Samar,” Sarmiento said in a Facebook post.
“Yes, it is quite similar to my work as a local chief executive. But this time, as a local chief executive of 81 provinces, 145 cities, 1489 municipalities, and 42,036 barangays, plus the thousands of our police, jail warden and firefighters,” he added.
Sarmiento said he feels honored to have served the public even in a short time and wished he had “more than 24 hours in a day so he could do more for the country.”
“Public service is a public trust. And for a former local chief executive, public service is a passion that requires a lifetime commitment,” he said.
“For me, public service has been a passion. Although it comes in to solve the problems brought by the ever-changing times. And this is the purpose of every election. Our kababayans have spoken and we welcome this, we respect this,” he added in his post.
The DILG Chief still assured the public and the incoming administration that the DILG will continue to deliver basic local services until the final day of the Aquino administration.
“From this day until June 30, on the last day of our term, be assured that we will waste no time in still delivering the services that the DILG has to implement,” he said.
The Secretary added that the DILG is prepared to work with the new set of officials that the incoming president will appoint to the agency to ensure a smooth transition of office.
He said that while he is preparing “to step down from government service, he is not stepping down from serving the people,” adding that he does not have to be in government to help others.
Sarmiento was the third appointee of President Aquino to lead DILG. The first was the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, followed by former Senator Mar Roxas.