FORMER Philippine Airlines (PAL) President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista has been tapped by President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to head the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

In a statement, Mr. Marcos said he named Mr. Bautista as DoTr secretary-designate and Cesar B. Chavez as DoTr undersecretary for railways.

Mr. Bautista worked at PAL for more than 25 years, and was president from 2004 to 2012, and from 2014 to 2019. At the flag carrier, he served various posts such as vice-president for finance and chief finance officer.

On the other hand, Mr. Chavez will return to the DoTr, where he was appointed as undersecretary by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2017. He left the agency after issues involving the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3). 

Mr. Chavez was “instrumental in securing” the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) approval for the Metro Manila subway and other rail projects, according to the Marcos camp. He also served as deputy administrator of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

Meanwhile, lawyer and former journalist Cheloy E. Garafil was chosen by Mr. Marcos to be the next chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Ms. Garafil currently serves as service director at the House of Representatives Committee on Rules, and was formerly a prosecutor for the Department of Justice and State Solicitor for the Office of the Solicitor General.

Mr. Marcos also tapped businessman Christopher S. Pastrana to serve as general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

“(Mr.) Pastrana, a successful businessman in the transportation field, brings with him decades of experience in various aspects of aviation, logistics, and public maritime transport,” it said.

Mr. Pastrana currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the supply and logistics conglomerate CAPP Industries, Inc. He also chairs the Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp. (APFC), which operates ferries under the brand name FastCat.

Experts have said that Mr. Duterte’s successor will have a hard time addressing the problems confronting the transport sector, which has been hit by supply and demand shocks worsened by rising fuel prices.

Senator Mary Grace Natividad Poe-Llamanzares, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said “much is expected” from the next Transport chief, who will have to address mass transportation problems and unfinished infrastructure projects.

The Move as One Coalition said the public transport sector is now in a “deadly spiral” and is now “collapsing.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos has chosen more people from the Duterte government to serve under his administration.

In a separate statement, the Marcos team said outgoing Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III will chair the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, which is the Philippines’ representative office in Taiwan.

Mr. Bello also served as Cabinet secretary under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Mr. Duterte’s former Cabinet chief, Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, will be the chair the Civil Service Commission, the Marcos team said.

Mr. Nograles was among the Duterte ad-interim appointees that were bypassed by the Commission on Appointments due to lack of quorum. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza