Ex-PAL president Jaime Bautista is Marcos' pick as next Transportation Secretary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2022 02:26 PM | Updated as of Jun 26 2022 11:18 AM

Jaime Bautista (left) President and COO Philippine Airlines speaks as David Lim (right) Senior Vice-President Commercial Group (PAL) looks on during a briefing in Manila on November 14, 2014. Philippine Airlines (PAL) will open new local and and international routes in the next three years, including Manila to New York, which will start in March next year, Bautista told reporters. Jay Directo, AFP/ File
Jaime Bautista (left) President and COO Philippine Airlines speaks as David Lim (right) Senior Vice-President Commercial Group (PAL) looks on during a briefing in Manila on November 14, 2014. Philippine Airlines (PAL) will open new local and and international routes in the next three years, including Manila to New York, which will start in March next year, Bautista told reporters. Jay Directo, AFP/ File

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) —President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has picked former Philippine Airlines (PAL) president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista as the next Transportation Secretary. 

Bautista, who retired as the flag carrier's top official in 2019, will replace incumbent Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, Marcos' incoming Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez confirmed on Thursday.

He was president of Philippine Airlines from 2004 to 2012. He returned to head the airline again in 2014 until his retirement in 2019. 

In a phone interview, Bautista said he has officially accepted the position after personally meeting Marcos in his office in Mandaluyong.

Bautista said he was not aware of the offer until the meeting.

He said his experience in airport and airline operations could come in handy as he becomes the next Transportation Secretary in July.

Marcos' initial directive is to develop the main gateway and to see that it meets the highest standards, Bautista said.

The incoming Transport chief said the DOTr's helm is bigger than his responsibility as the president of PAL but he believes his experience in airport and airline operations makes him qualified.
 
 REACTIONS

Commuter group The Passenger Forum on Thursday said it welcomes Marcos' decision to pick Bautista, but cautioned the latter that he will have to "clean up the mess of Secretary Tugade."

“With our obvious differences with Tugade, it is a welcome development for us that he is not reappointed and that a new face will lead the DOTr. We challenge secretary-designate Bautista to start looking at how to solve the current transportation crisis that is the result of a series of wrong steps by the current DOTr," the group's convenor Primo Morillo said in a statement.

According to Morillo, among the department's setbacks under Tugade's watch include the "haphazard and unjust" implementation of the jeepney modernization program, the "unresponsiveness" to the problems of the public transport system during the COVID-19 pandemic, the delay in the opening of the MRT-7 line, and the "failure" to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“We hope Bautista witnessed enough of these blunders and is willing to get his hands dirty in working for the betterment of our transportation situation," he said.

Tugade said that his department is "exerting all efforts to ensure a smooth, full, and transparent transition" between his team and Bautista's.

"I personally know my successor, Jimmy Bautista. We have long years of association and friendship. His professionalism, experience, dedication, and hard work will certainly augur well in his being the Secretary of Transportation. In the best of my abilities and capabilities, I shall assist in however way asked and needed," Tugade said.

"President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has decided. We must fully trust and support his decision for his success shall be the success of the Filipino people," the outgoing transporation chief added.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS

Marcos also named former Light Rail Transit Authority Deputy Administrator Cesar Chavez as Undersecretary-designate for Rails of the DOTr.
 
“Chavez is also credited for overseeing the interconnection of the LRT Line 1 in Monumento to MRT 3 in North Edsa, ensuring seamless travel for the passengers,” said Marcos’ incoming Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
 
Marcos also picked Cheloy Garafil to be the next Chair of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
 
Christopher "Chet" Pastrana, meanwhile, was chosen to be the next General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

- with reports from Katrina Domingo and Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News; and Raoul Esperas

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