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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

He fought on the frontlines until the end

"We pay homage to Danny Lim’s self-sacrifice and devotion to duty."

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I join everyone in mourning the passing of Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo D. Lim.  He was 65.

It is my honor and privilege to have known Danny personally. I looked up to him as an older brother, as well as a fine soldier and a true public servant.

And it is his devotion to duty and self-sacrifice that we also celebrate his life and pay homage to. 

Born June 2, 1955, Danny was two years old and youngest of five brothers when their father, Chinese rice trader He Yia Lim, died. He and his brothers were raised by his mother Catalina Delapuz in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.

Destined for greater heights, Danny finished elementary and high school in Solano with flying colors.

He was in his freshman year at the University of the Philippines when he took and topped the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) entrance exams.

A member of the PMA Makatarungan Class 1978, he was a plebe, when he took and topped the entrance exams to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.

After graduation, he returned to the country and took the Scout Ranger Course where he graduated No. 1 and opted to be assigned to Jolo.

He commanded the forward Recon Unit of the 1st Infantry Division in Sulu where he was wounded twice in combat, including the rescue of school children hostaged by an Abu Sayaff band in Basilan.

Danny, then a Scout Ranger captain, was among those who led the 1989 coup against the “left-leaning” President Cory Aquino. The coup almost succeeded.

He was detained for two years until he was granted amnesty by Aquino’s successor, Fidel V. Ramos.

He was subsequently involved in attempts to bring down the Arroyo administration.

The bemedalled retired Army brigadier general then ran for senator but lost in 2010 under the banner of Noynoy Aquino’s Liberal Party.

A year later, Danny was designated Deputy Customs Commissioner for Intelligence under Noynoy Aquino.

Although his team was credited for the drastic reduction of smuggling in Aduana, Danny resigned in July 2013 after Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address, slammed the Customs bureau for alleged incompetence.

In May 2017, President Duterte named Danny MMDA Chairman under whose leadership relentless efforts have improved the traffic situation in Metro Manila, particularly EDSA.

Since January last year, the MMDA has played an active role in the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus.

In late December, Danny disclosed he had tested positive for COVID-19 although his symptoms were mild.

Once a soldier, always a soldier, he stood among the nation’s frontliners in this horrific war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Danny will be sorely missed by media practitioners who loved him for his straightforward views on critical issues.

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