President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed lawyer Romando Artes as the new Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman effective March 1, vice Atty. Benhur Abalos Jr. who resigned last February 7.
Artes expressed gratitude to the President for his trust and confidence, assuring the public that projects beneficial to Metro Manila shall continue to be implemented.
“It is an honor to be appointed as the MMDA Chairman. The agency has been my home for the past five years–from the term of the late Chairman Danilo Lim and later under Chairman Abalos,” the traffic chief said.
“I will continue to work for the completion of the projects and programs needed and pursuant to our mandates.”
“I will continue to work for the completion of the projects and programs needed and pursuant to our mandates – traffic, solid waste and flood management, urban renewal, public safety among others and the equally important COVID-19 vaccination as we transition to the new normal,” the traffic head added.
Artes, also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), first served as the MMDA’s Assistant General Manager for Finance and Administration in May 2017 and later on as the agency’s General Manager in November 2021.
As AGM for Finance and Administration, he managed the budget and finances of the Authority and achieved the first-ever “unqualified opinion” from the Commission on Audit for 2019 and again in 2021.
Also, Artes led the COVID-19 Committee of the Authority which managed to inoculate almost all MMDA employees and their immediate families.
Because of the Authority’s harmonious relationship with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), National Task Force, Department of Health, and National Vaccines Operation Center (NVOC), the Authority was able to extend assistance to neighboring local government units of the National Capital Region in their vaccination drives.
He also supervised the Public-Private Partnership program that facilitated the construction of the MMDA’s new headquarters in Ortigas, Pasig City which is set to be finished by this year.
Prior to his stint at the MMDA, Artes served both as an accountant and lawyer in the City of Biñan and consultant in the City of Sta. Rosa in Laguna.
He also served with the legislative branch of government as a Political and Legislative Officer in the Senate and Consultant in the House of Representatives.
Artes graduated from then San Beda College with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Accountancy in 1993. He also obtained his Bachelor of Laws from the same university in 1998 and passed the bar examinations in the same year.
After graduating in 1993, Atty. Artes worked with the prestigious accounting firm, Sycip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. until 1994. After passing the Bar in 1998, he then started his career as a lawyer with the Cayetano Sebastian Dado & Cruz Law Office until 2000. Afterwhich, he then served as a Partner in the So Artes & Partners Law Offices from 2017 up to present but took a leave of absence since his MMDA stint.
Meanwhile, MMDA Undersecretary Frisco San Juan Jr. was also appointed as General Manager concurrent to being the agency’s Deputy Chairman.
San Juan vowed to assist the Chairman in formulating projects, resolutions, and regulations that will benefit Metro Manila and its residents.
“With my appointment as the agency’s General Manager, I assure the public that I will work hand in hand with the Chairman.”
“With my appointment as the agency’s General Manager, I assure the public that I will work hand in hand with the Chairman in delivering quality services to the entire MMDA and its people,” he said.
San Juan also serves as the head of the Pasig River Ferry Service (PRFS), an alternative means of transportation to help ease traffic congestion in the metro.
He sees the ferry service as a solution to alleviate traffic problems in Metro Manila as it transitions to the new normal.
Prior to his stint in MMDA, San Juan served in the Rizal provincial government as Vice Governor from 2009-2016.