Senator Grace Poe on Thursday called on Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to immediately find a ‘qualified’ undersecretary as a replacement to former Railways undersecretary Cesar Chavez.
In a statement, Poe said he is hopeful that Tugade will “do the right thing for the country, learning from the mistakes of the past,” saying that the latter should look for someone who can ‘hit the ground running’ and ‘not a mere politically connected OJT.’
“To avert a vacuum in leadership that could be detrimental to the daily train riders, especially the MRT, we appeal to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to immediately find a new but qualified undersecretary for rails,” Poe said.
“The interest of the public and the improvement of the country’s transportation system should be the foremost considerations in choosing a new person at the helm, rather than political accommodation or reciprocity,” Poe added.
Chavez on Thursday morning announced the submission of his irrevocable resignation addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte as he stepped down from his post as the Transportation Undersecretary for Railways.
Chavez cited the several technical breakdowns of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 as the reason for his resignation.
“I’m tendering my irrevocable resignation. We can’t always blame the past because this is now our responsibility,” Chavez said in Filipino.
The lady senator said Tugade should be careful in choosing the next undersecretary as the role is ‘complex’ and ‘critical’ to the lives of the commuters.
“We hope that in finding a replacement, Secretary Tugade will carefully look into the qualifications, capability, competence, and commitment of the person because the task at hand is complex and has a critical impact on the lives of our commuting public,” Poe said.
Earlier, Poe admired Chavez for his ‘sense of delicadeza’ but expressed doubts over the latter’s resignation.
“I respect Usec. Cesar Chavez for tendering his resignation in the light of the MRT problems. I admire his sense of delicadeza although I doubt that that is the only reason that prompted him to resign,” Poe said.
“He 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 added.