MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim dies at 65

Published January 6, 2021, 10:37 AM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim passed away on Wednesday. He was 65.

Lim’s passing was confirmed in a Viber message by MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, who added that other details will soon be announced by his family.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and concurrent Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Chairman Danilo “Danny” Lim (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In a statement, the MMDA said Lim died of cardiac arrest.

He is survived by his wife, Representative Aloysia Tiongson-Lim, and daughter Aika.

Before his death, Lim announced on December 29 in a Facebook post that he tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) “despite all the health precautions” he observed.

Lim was recovering from the virus when he died, Pialago said in a memorial mass held online. He was already cremated and his remains would be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Saturday, Pialago added.

he bereaved family and loved ones of Lim. Until his death, Lim served as MMDA chairman from May, 2017 under the Duterte administration.

In the statement, the MMDA said Lim “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.”

MMDA also said that Lim “prioritized the welfare of the employees by ensuring they receive accident insurance and other appropriate benefits” and “envisioned the MMDA to be one of the most transparent government agencies that the public can trust.” Lim was also a former military general.

He was deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Customs under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, but resigned in 2013.

A dedicated public servant

Malacañang has expressed sympathies over the death of Lim, saying he rendered public service with professionalism, competence, and integrity.

“The Palace expresses its deep condolences to the family, loved ones, and colleagues of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim who died before 8AM this morning at the age of 65,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

“MMDA Chair Lim served the Duterte administration with professionalism, competence, and integrity. He would be dearly missed. May the perpetual light shine upon him, and may his soul, through the mercy of the Almighty, rest in eternal peace,” he said.

President Duterte appointed Lim as MMDA chairman in May, 2017.

Lim was among the former military officers appointed by the President to various posts in the government.

“With the passing of General Lim, the country lost an esteemed leader, who valued public service above all else. His vision, which he carried through from his beginnings as a young officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to his later years as a civilian public servant, was to uphold good governance and lead by example,” said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a statement.

“As chair of the NDRRMC [National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] and NTF [National Task Force] Against COVID19, I am grateful for General Lim’s support to our various inter-agency emergency response operations through the years,” Lorenzana said.

“I also convey my sympathies to General Lim’s loved ones and his colleagues at the MMDA. May he rest in peace,” he added.

Military life

Lim was a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatarungan” Class of 1978.

He was a first year college student at the University of the Philippines when he took the PMA entrance exam, which he topped.

While a a plebe or first-year cadet at the PMA, he took the entrance examinations at the West Point Academy of the United States military, one the world’s premier military academies, where he also aced the exams.

After his graduation at the West Point Academy in 1978, he went back to the Philippines and took the Scout Ranger Course where he graduated on top of his class.

He chose to be assigned to Jolo, Sulu, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists.

Revolution Lim was recruited into the rightist group, Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), in the 1980s where he became involved in the People Power Revolution in 1986.

He took part in a failed coup during the administration of former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino in 1989 where military officials laid siege in Makati City from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, 1989.

He was jailed for two years until he was released during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos, who also approved his reinstatement in the military service in 1994.

On July 23, 2003, about 300 soldiers formed a new group called “Magdalo,” led by Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, and took over the Oakwood Premier service apartments in Ayala Center, Makati City.

This eventually became known as the group’s first attempt at ousting then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over allegations of corruption.

Lim, then a captain, was among those charged with attempted coup d’etat and rebellion. In November, 2007, Lim, along with fellow soldiers Trillanes, Nicanor Faeldon, and other military officials belonging to the Magdalo group, walked out of their trial for the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

Lim and his comrades marched along the streets of Makati and laid siege at the Manila Peninsula Hotel as they renewed their demands for the resignation of Arroyo.

The Manila Peninsula siege again resulted in the incarceration of Lim until he was allowed to post bail in February, 2010.

Eventually, Lim was granted temporary freedom by the AFP in May, 2010, and later an amnesty by the administration of then President Aquino III. (With reports from Genalyn Kabiling and Martin Sadongdong)