Former PAL president Jimmy Bautista is Marcos' pick for DOTr chief

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista
PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:12 p.m.) — Businessman and former Philippine Airlines chief Jaime Bautista is president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s pick to head the Department of Transportation, the latter confirmed Thursday. 

Incoming ES Vic Rodriguez confirmed this reporters in a text message.

Bautista, president and chief operating officer of the flag carrier from 2004 to 2019, is inheriting a transport situation that both commuters and transport workers alike say is in crisis, with wanting transport capacity on the roads only exacerbated by skyrocketing fuel prices. 

He has also headed nine different companies, including serving as an independent director of Belle Corp., Premium Leisure Corp., and Nickel Asia Corp. 

Transportation woes

Commuter and transport groups have urged incoming transport officials to rethink the DOTr's PUV modernization program and find long-term solutions to the oil woes faced by the sector. 

READ: Marcos Jr. gov't urged: Appoint transport officials with empathy amid commuting crisis

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade was initially rumored to be in consideration for the position, though groups representing workers in the sector protested the possible re-appointment. 

"We need leaders who will break the cycle of focusing on infrastructure projects intended to benefit only private vehicles while overlooking the needs of commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists," transport advocacy group AltMobility PH said in a statement sent to media earlier. 

"We need leaders who will actively support and swiftly respond to transport-related crises such as public transport supply shortages and increasing oil prices."

The Stop and Go Transport Coalition warned commuters that the public transportation crisis would possibly worsen under the incoming administration with incoming officials still likely to continue pushing for the public utility vehicle modernization program. 

"It's businesses that will profit from this. Maybe they only consulted businessmen, not the actual stakeholders," the group's leadership said at a press conference in May. 

"What we're appealing from the next government is to put a stop to the PUV modernization, which causes a lot of problems in our ranks," it also said. "I hope they don't take away our right to make a living."

More transportation appointees

Later Thursday afternoon, Marcos Jr. also named other key nominees in his administration's transportation cluster.

Former Light Rail Transit Authority Deputy Administrator Cesar Chavez was named Undersecretary-designate for Rails of the DOTr, a position currently held by Transportation Undersecretary TJ Batan.

Chavez, who President Rodrigo Duterte appointed to the same post in 2017, was described as being "instrumental in securing the NEDA Board's approval for the Metro Manila Subway, PNR Manila to Calamba, PNR Manila to Bicol, and the Tagum-Davao-Digos Mindanao rail projects."

He was formerly Assistant General Manager for Planning of the Metro Manila Development Authority, Chairman of the National Youth Commission, and youth sector Representative in the 9th Congress.

Chavez also served as outgoing Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s chief of staff.

Veteran journalist and lawyer Cheloy Garafil was nominated Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman-designate, the position currently held by lawyer Martin Delgra III.

Garafil, a Service Director at the Committee on Rules of the House of Representatives, was a prosecutor for the Department of Justice and state solicitor for the Office of the Solicitor General after working in media for over a decade.

Christopher "Chet" Pastrana was also announced as the next General Manager-designate of the Philippine Ports Authority, the current position of PPA GM Jay Santiago.

Pastrana is currently President and CEO of supply and logistics conglomerate CAPP Industries and Chairman of Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp., which operates FasCat ferries.


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