• Senators respect Chavez decision to quit but ask Duterte for immediate replacement


    SENATORS expressed admiration and respect for Transport Undersecretary Cesar Chavez who resigned from his post out of “delicadeza” over the unresolved problems at the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) but called on President Rodrigo Duterte to find a replacement immediately.

    Senator Grace Poe said she respected Chavez for tendering his resignation.

    ”I admire his sense of delicadeza although I doubt that that is the only reason that prompted him to resign,” Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said in a statement on Thursday.

    She expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte would be able to find someone willing to take up the cudgels Chavez left behind to ensure the safety of MRT commuters.

    She also cautioned Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade against politicking in choosing Chavez’s replacement.

    She said that qualifications and altruism should be the top considerations for choosing Chavez’s successor and not party affiliation. Chavez is with the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), Duterte’s party.

    Sen. Joel Villanueva shared Poe’s sentiment.

    “We have high respect for Usec. Cesar Chavez. He has been on the frontline uncovering anomalies in the MRT. His sudden resignation surprised us,” Villanueva said.

    “We admire Usec. Chavez for his honesty and humility to be accountable for the recent MRT problems. We thank him for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Villanueva said.

    Villanueva said that concerned agencies should “continue what Chavez had started: Unearth and address the real issues, anomalies and problems in the DoTr.”

    Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Chavez’s resignation was “a big loss considering that he had been upfront and straightforward with the problems that surround the department.”

    Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he expected more delays and problems to arise in the coming days since whoever would replace Chavez would “need time to be acquainted and to know the problems” in the MRT system.

    This is why Sen. Nancy Binay called on Tugade to immediately appoint Chavez’s replacement, especially since the MRT-3 was serving hundreds of thousands of commuters in Metro Manila every day.

    “The MRT is a vital component of Metro Manila’s transportation network and we owe the commuting public an uninterrupted service to them,” Binay said.

    “It is time to evaluate the actions and the leadership of the DoTr as a whole in connection with how issues hounding the MRT have been addressed,” said Poe.

    She said Chavez seemed to be one of the DoTr officials who was determined to fully address all the issues plaguing the MRT. “I recall he was instrumental in unearthing the persons involved in anomalies that caused these issues,” she said.

    “These issues should be properly and expeditiously resolved despite Usec. Chavez’s resignation and especially considering the commuting horrors our people have to go through everyday,” Poe said.

    Ejercito is apprehensive that efforts to improve the MRT system would be “back to zero” since Chavez’s replacement would have to acquaint himself or herself with the problems hounding MRT operations.

    “New officer-in-charge needs time to know the problems and eventual solutions. I expect delays and more problems specially may transition,” he said.

    Gatchalian said the DoTr urgently needed a good communicator to explain to us, the public about plans and solutions to improve the traffic situation of the country.

    “The problem is, we do not really have rail or tech experts who can take over and is equipped with the knowledge already,” Ejercito said. JEFF ANTIPORDA, EIREENE GOMEZ



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