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Southern Leyte solon named acting DPWH chief

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado as the acting secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Duterte signed Mercado’s appointment paper on Tuesday, based on a copy released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

Mercado replaced resigned Public Works Secretary Mark Villar who is eyeing a Senate seat in the May 9, 2022 national elections.

Mercado, as a member of the 18th Congress, principally authored 67 measures and co-authored 26 bills, based on the official website of the House of Representatives.

He serves as vice chairperson of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways.

He is also a deputy majority leader of the House Rules Committee.

Mercado also serves as member of the House Committees on Agriculture and Food; Energy; Flagship Programs and Projects; Natural Resources; Persons with Disabilities; Public order and Safety; Tourism; and Trade and Industry.

Mercado’s appointment came amid Duterte’s commitment to improving the country’s infrastructure through the government’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.

In a speech delivered on Sept. 30, Duterte vowed to pursue “better and more responsive” public works until his last days in office.

Duterte also expressed optimism that the development of the country’s infrastructure would help revitalize economic activities amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Meantime, Duterte also tapped Romando Artes as the new general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed.

Artes took the place of resigned MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Garcia who is vying for a congressional post.

Prior to his new stint, Artes served as MMDA’s assistant general manager for Finance and Administration.

Roque, in a press statement, said the Palace is optimistic that Mercado and Artes would excel in their new posts in government.

“We are confident that Secretary Mercado and General Manager Artes will continue to oversee the completion of their department’s programs and projects in the remaining months of the current government. We wish Sec. Mercado and GM Artes all the best in their new assignments,” he said. (PNA)

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