By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has announced plans to appoint military general Emmanuel Salamat to lead the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) when he retires next month.
Salamat, a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1985, is currently the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon command.
At the 121st anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy in Cavite, the President looked for Salamat and offered him a government post upon his retirement.
“Kailan ka mag-retire sir? July 1? Next month. Kung papayag si Dick Morales, si Dick i-move out ko MWSS , ikaw ang ilagay ko [When will you retire Sir? July 1? Next month. If Dick Morales will agree, I will move him out of MWSS. I will place you there instead],” Duterte told Salamat who stood up in the middle of the crowd.
Salamat was appointed to lead the military’s Nolcom in 2017.
Morales, a retired military general, was recently named MWSS board member. In the appointment paper signed last May 27, Morales will serve the unexpired term of Reynaldo Velasco, which is until June 30, 2019.
In his speech, the President explained that he prefers military men to serve in government due to their efficiency.
He expressed anew dismay with the sluggish work of civilian workers in government so he opts to hire former military officials known for hard work.
“The one thing that really ails the system is itong bureaucracy is not fashioned, is not crafted to solve problems immediately. If you give them the project, they will debate with you. Then it would take them an eternity to do the project until the money is gone,” he said.
Duterte said he would continue to tap former military men despite “criticisms of militarization” of his administration.
“If you are back to normal, kunin ko na lang kayo kasi at least mautusan ko kayo. If you still look in my — at my office as something where we can do everything that is right and correct for the people,” he said.
The change in the MWSS leadership came following the President’s dismay with the recent water shortage that gripped Metro Manila and nearby areas as well as poor preparation for the El Niño phenomenon.
Duterte previously declared that he would not hesitate to replace all MWSS officials if they cannot do their job well. Duterte said he could appoint “brighter” Filipinos to take the place of the concerned water officials over his dismay with their lack of preparedness for the El Niño dry season.
The President earlier threatened to fire MWSS officials and revoke the contracts with water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad following the recent water shortage that hit Metro Manila and nearby areas.