DOTr undersecretary resigns, denies rift with Tugade
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Roberto "Bobby" Lim resigned as the country's transportation undersecretary for aviation in the interest of the department, he said.
"I have resigned in the interest of the Department [of Transportation]. There is no issue with my boss who fully understands the decision," Lim told Rappler, clarifying rumors that he left because of misunderstandings with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
Lim, who previously worked as country manager of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), did not elaborate.
The resignation was confirmed by Tugade via a mobile phone reply.
"The first sentence of his resignation states, 'in the interest of the Department that has given me new learnings, and experiences, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation,'" Tugade said.
Lim is the 4th undersecretary to resign under Tugade. The others were Rommel Gavieta, Raoul Creencia, and Noel Kintanar, who handled the planning, legal and procurement, and rails portfolios, respectively. (READ: DOTr's hits and misses in 1st 100 days: NAIA, EDSA traffic, MRT3)
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez previously criticized the transportation undersecretaries for either incompetence or conflict of interest. Alvarez was a former transportation secretary and Manila International Airport Authority official who himself had faced conflict of interest issues due to his wife's involvement in the building of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.
"If I see conflict of interest, sisibakin ko 'yan (I will sack them)," Tugade had told Alvarez, as reported by Inquirer.
Long list of to-dos
Lim did not say when exactly he resigned, but one source said it was during the 30th ASEAN Summit hosted by Manila last week.
With Lim's resignation, a long list of airport projects will be left in the hands of his successor.
These include unsolicited proposals for a new international gateway, the bidding for small regional airports, and the auction for the P74.56-billion ($1.66-billion) deal to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
During Lim's stint as undersecretary for aviation, the department was able to provide cleaner NAIA toilets, faster Wi-Fi in airports across the Philippines, zero laglag bala cases, and a finalized plan on building a standard train that will connect Manila to Clark International Airport.
The department was also able to increase on-time flight arrivals at NAIA to 72% from 41%. This was achieved by moving general aviation flights to the Naval Station Sangley Point in Cavite and transferring some domestic flights to Clark International Airport.
Before his stint at IATA, Lim had also served as vice president for legal affairs and corporate compliance officer of Philippine Airlines. – Rappler.com