MMDA chief Lim succumbs to COVID-19

    Lim (Photo from PIA)

    By Noel Talacay

    METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority chairman Danilo Lim yesterday died from complications caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig. He was 65.

    MMDA General manager Jojo Garcia said the official cause of death was cardiac arrest.

    Lim’s remains were cremated yesterday afternoon.

    Before the year 2020 ended, Lim tested positive for the deadly virus and has been in hospital since. President Duterte appointed Lim to the MMDA in 2017.

    Malacanang extended its sympathies and prayers to the family of Lim. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque saying Lim, who is known for his professionalism, competence and integrity, will be missed.

    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said “the loss of Chairman Lim will surely be felt across the bureaucracy and the military he served with distinction.”

    Garcia said Lim prioritized the welfare of the agency’s employees by ensuring they receive accident insurance and other appropriate benefits. He also envisioned the MMDA to be one of the most transparent government agencies that the public can trust.

    Garcia recalled that during Lim’s term as MMDA chief, he initiated efforts in alleviating problems confronting Metro Manila by going back to the basics.

    “He also focused his efforts in instilling and implementing strict discipline among agency employees,” he added.

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said country lost an “esteemed leader, who valued public service above all else,” with the death of Lim, a retired Army general who figured in failed coup attempts during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino.

    “His vision, which he carried through from his beginnings as a young officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to his later years as a civilian public servant, was to uphold good governance and lead by example,” Lorenzana sad.

    “As chair of the NDRRMC and NTF-COVID-19, I am grateful for General Lim’s support to our various inter-agency emergency response operations through the years. I also convey my sympathies to General Lim’s loved ones and his colleagues at the MMDA. May he rest in peace,” said Lorenzana.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the DILG was “heartbroken” to lose a fellow public servant in Lim, with whom the department has worked with closely in many undertakings.

    The Philippine Army, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said it “saddened” by the death of Lim.

    “He is an exemplary leader who dedicated his life in serving the people, even amidst this pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala.

    Lim entered the Philippine Military Academy in 1973 and was supposed to graduate from the academy in 1977. As he excelled during his first year in the PMA, Lim was sent to the US Military Academy where he graduated in 1978.

    In the 1980s, Lim and a fellow junior officer, Ariel Querubin, founded the Young Officers Union that figured in failed coup attempts against the administration of President Corazon Aquino. The two and many other military officers were detained but were given amnesty by Aquino’s successor, President Fidel Ramos.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Health reported 1,047 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases yesterday that raised the total number of infections in the country to 480,737 and 26 more deaths.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH said Davao City reported 79 new cases, followed by Quezon City (58), Laguna (55), Bulacan (40), and Cagayan de Oro City (40).

    The number of fatalities rose to 9,347 for a case fatality rate of 1.94 percent.

    There were 339 new recoveries, raising the number of survivors to 448,700. The DOH said this means that 93.3 percent of COVID patients had recovered.

    Less the deaths and recoveries, the DOH said there are still 22,690 active cases, accounting for 4.7 percent of COVID cases in the country.

    Of the active cases, 81.8 percent are mild cases, 8.5 percent are asymptomatic cases, 6 percent are critical cases, 3.2 percent are severe cases, and 0.52 percent are moderate cases.

    The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the virus breached the 13,000 mark after five more were sickened yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    In all, there are now 13,001 Filipinos in 84 countries infected with the virus. There was no new foreign death reported. – With Gerard Naval, Jocelyn Montemayor, Victor Reyes and Ashzel Hachero