New MMDA chief a no-show at House briefing

MANILA, Philippines – New Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim missed on Monday, May 29, his first meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Metro Manila Development, saying there was "miscommunication."

Lim was supposed to discuss with lawmakers his plans for the MMDA especially in responding to pressing issues such as security in the capital region after the clashes in Marawi, and the much-criticized and temporarily suspended Anti-Distracted Driving Act. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

After confirming that Lim would not be able to catch up, the meeting was cancelled, much to the dismay of the lawmakers present.

"I'm disappointed to say the least," said Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza."We all had full schedules today. I had a full schedule today, with a set of meetings already scheduled, but I gave preference and priority to this meeting because they said he confirmed that he will attend the meeting today." 

Atienza said that he was "excited" to work with Lim because Metro Manila has "very big problems". But it is precisely the problems, according to Atienza, that make it impermissible to be "easy, easy lang" (complacent). 

Representative Winnie Castelo, chair of the committee, explained that their office secretary confirmed Lim's attendance through his personal secretary. "We were surprised at his non-presence here. We have agreed to give him a chance, but any absence or similar occurence similar to this will be dealt with severely," he said.

Also absent in the meeting was National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde, who was represented by Deputy Regional Director Rolando Nana.

They were also supposed to deliver a report on the security situation in the metro, but the committee decided to withold their presentation for the next meeting on Wednesday, May 31.

On Wednesday, Castelo said that they will be asking Lim to empower the Metro Manila Council, the policymaking body of the MMDA composed of the capital region's mayors and lawmakers, which, according to Castelo, has not been effective. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.