MANILA -- New Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge Catalino S. Cuy formally turned over the DILG post to newly appointed DILG OIC Eduardo M. Año on Tuesday. 

Newly appointed DILG OIC Eduardo M. Año (left) stands beside his predecessor, newly appointed Dangerous Drugs Board chair Catalino S. Cuy during turnover rites on Tuesday.

Cuy served as DILG Undersecretary for 18 months, the last nine months of which he spent as DILG OIC.

In his speech at the department's ceremonial turnover, Cuy thanked DILG officials and employees for their "love, support, and hard work" in fulfilling the mandate entrusted to them by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.

For his part, Año said he had “big shoes to fill” in replacing Cuy as DILG OIC.

Año was appointed DILG OIC after Duterte named Cuy as the new DDB chairman on Jan. 4, 2018. Año retired as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff in October 2017.

“I acknowledge that I have ‘big shoes to fill’ as my predecessor has accomplished much during his tenure, but I am up to the task, knowing that I have the support of the entire DILG workforce in doing my job,” Año said during the turnover rites.

Año said he relied on the support of "Team DILG" to rally behind Duterte in his battle against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, violent extremism/terrorism, and communist threats.

Año likened his role to that of a conductor of an orchestra, where he leads, directs, and controls the dynamics of the musical piece, while each of the members of the orchestra plays the instrument in perfect harmony with the group.

Ang pagsugpo sa mga pangunahing suliranin ng bansa ay nakaatang sa DILG. Hindi madali ang tatahakin nating landas kaya inaasahan ko ang suporta ng bawat isa para mapagtagumpayan natin ito (The eradication of the major problems of the country is entrusted to the DILG. We would not take the easy path, hence, I’m expecting the support of everyone in order to succeed),” he said.

Saying that the new year is a new beginning for the DILG, Año added he expects Team DILG to continue doing their best in their work and being of better service to the Filipino people, making the department a “bastion of excellence” in government service.

“Every single day is a blank page, an opportunity for us to write our stories well and be more productive in our work. We still have more than 350 days this year to serve our people well,” Año said.

“Congratulations to all of you for doing a good job in 2017. This year, let us continue to be ‘matino, mahusay, at maaasahan’ (good, efficient, and reliable) and make this another banner year for the department,” the new DILG chief added, warning there would be no “sacred cows” in the department's relentless drive against graft and corruption.

He also announced that President Duterte had procured PHP1 billion worth of firefighting equipment for the Bureau of Fire and Protection. (PNA)