Poe revives call for Duterte emergency powers to tackle Metro Manila traffic
Senator Grace Poe has renewed her call for Congress to pass the bill granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the deteriorating traffic in Metro Manila.
On Friday, Poe noted the significance of such measure especially after the study made by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) estimated the cost of worsening traffic in Metro Manila to be at P3.5 billion in lost opportunities per day, higher than the estimated P2.4 billion in 2012.
“There is a need to grant extraordinary powers, because current laws do not adequately provide for the means to expeditiously and effectively solve this traffic and congestion crisis. Some laws even create roadblocks to acting promptly,” said Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public services.
In order to expedite the passage of the proposed measure, Poe said that the President should certify it as urgent, similar to what was done with the tax reform law.
“As we have witnessed, because of the President’s influence and popularity, the bills he explicitly mentioned to prioritize like the TRAIN (tax reform law), can hurdle Congress rather quickly,” she pointed out.
“Despite this, the emergency powers bill is in its advanced stage of discussion in the Senate plenary. What is perhaps needed to expedite it through the last mile of approval is presidential certification of urgency.”
“Because we all know that it is the lubricant which moves legislation,” she added.
Poe, however, emphasized anew that in order for government to address the traffic crisis, a reliable and convenient mass transit system should be developed as well as alternative roads and bridges. She also noted that economic centers outside of Metro Manila must be pursued in order to decongest the nation’s capital region.
“We are in a war against traffic; but if the people who will receive such emergency powers will categorically say that the powers are an ammunition they no longer need, then the onus of solving it falls solely and squarely on them,” Poe said. /kga