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Ex-PAL chief Jaime Bautista picked as DOTr chief under Marcos

Former Philippine Airlines (PAL) president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista has been picked by President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as incoming Transportation chief under his administration.

This was confirmed by incoming Executive Secretary Attorney Vic Rodriguez to reporters on Thursday.

Bautista will replace Arthur Tugade as DOTr chief come June 30. 

Bautista, a certified public accountant, worked at PAL for 25 years and served as its president for 13 years before his retirement in 2019.

Senate committee on public services chairperson Senator Grace Poe welcomed Bautista's appointment, "with optimism that he will lead the sector battered by systemic challenges aggravated by the pandemic."

She said much is expected from the incoming new leadership of the transportation agency.

"The mass transportation is woeful. Dozens of infrastructure projects remain unfinished. Millions of commuters and motorists face slow death on the road every day due to traffic. Incessant oil price hikes are crippling public utility vehicle drivers, vehicle owners and ordinary citizens. Our people are destitute for help," she said.

Chavez, Garafil

Marcos also named former Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) deputy administrator Cesar Chavez as Undersecretary-designate for Rails of the DOTr.

The Marcos camp said Chavez was instrumental in securing the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA's) approval for the Metro Manila Subway, PNR Manila to Calamba, PNR Manila to Bicol, and the Tagum-Davao-Digos Mindanao rail projects.

Before his stint in the transport sector, Chavez was assistant general manager for planning of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and chairman of the National Youth Commission (NYC).

In a statement, Chavez said he would focus on hastening railway projects and prioritize the regions of the Visayas and Mindanao.

"I will not preempt the transport policy initiatives of the incoming president and incoming transport secretary, but my immediate concerns will be how to simplify decision-making processes and hasten the project completion of railway projects, and prioritize Visayas and Mindanao in the planning of future rail projects," Chavez said.

Meanwhile, Marcos also picked lawyer Cheloy Garafil, MNSA to be the chairperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Garafil is presently a service director at the Committee on Rules of the House of Representatives. She also served as prosecutor for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and State Solicitor for the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Further, Christopher "Chet" Pastrana was chosen by the incoming president to be the general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

Pastrana has decades of experience in various aspects of aviation, logistics, and public maritime transport, according to the Marcos camp. — RSJ, GMA News