Budget chief Avisado, four AFP ranking officers get CA nod

The Commission on Appointments (CA), in its plenary session today, confirmed the ad interim appointment of Hon. Wendel E. Avisado as secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The appointments of four ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), likewise, got the CA nod.

Avisado, 66, a native of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, served as Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns to oversee the rehabilitation of the areas affected by typhoon Yolanda prior to his appointment as budget chief. He also served as Deputy Secretary General for the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council from September 2010 to April 2015 and as City Administrator of Davao City from 2004 to 2010. He was formerly a Regional Director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Regions XI and XII and was elected City Councilor of the First District of Davao City for two terms. An active member of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Avisado is the immediate past acting Secretary General and National President of the BSP and currently an ex-officio member of the National Executive Board.

The new budget chief started working in the private sector as a cargo clerk at the Philippine Airlines in Davao City after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Southern Island College (General Baptist Bible College), General Santos City in 1974. He pursued his law studies as a working student, graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Davao University in 1978 and passed the Philippine Bar examinations in 1980. He honed his skills as a young lawyer serving as a research attorney at the City Court in Davao City and as special counsel, legal assistant and assistant bank attorney of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in Davao City. An academician himself, Avisado taught Legal Ethics and Administrative Law at the Ateneo de Davao University and Economics and Local Governance at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao.

Avisado, who took his oath as budget secretary before President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2019, replaced DBM Undersecretary Janet B. Abuel, who served as the DBM’s Officer-in-Charge (OIC) following the appointment of former Sec. Benjamin E. Diokno as Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, who chairs the CA Committee on Budget and Management, endorsed Avisado’s confirmation at the plenary.

In his sponsorship speech before the Commission body, Zubiri spoke highly of Avisado’s humble beginnings and accomplishments and regarded him as the “national government’s top expert in budgetary matters, concerns and fiscal management.” He personally thanked the budget chief for providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Finance and Budget Management of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MFBM-BARMM) in crafting the first-ever 2020 Bangsamoro Expenditure Program (BEP). “With his extensive experience and expertise in various areas, such as public management, local governance and planning and strategy, I believe that Secretary Avisado can competently lead the Department of Budget and Management, as it works for the timely and effective disbursement of public funds for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he added.

Sen. Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino seconded Zubiri’s motion to have Avisado’s appointment as budget chief confirmed. Tolentino, in his seconding speech, praised Avisado for coming to cabinet meetings “always prepared – living true to his Boy Scout training and having served as the secretary general of the BSP.” He regarded the budget chief as a “self-made man” and acknowledged his eventual “rise to become worthy and more than qualified of leading one of the most important departments of the government – Department of Budget and Management.”

Meanwhile, the CA also approved the appointments (three ad interim and one nomination) of four AFP ranking officers. The ad interim appointments of Lieutenant General Roberto T. Ancan, Major General Simeon Z. Felix, Jr. and Brigadier General Fernando M. Reboja and the nomination of Col. Maning S. Tawantawan to the grade of brigadier general were deliberated on by the CA Committee on National Defense, headed by Rep. Luis “Jon-Jon” A. Ferrer IV. Ferrer moved to recommend their confirmation to the plenary with no objections raised.