Tolentino: No longer interested in emergency powers? So be it
MANILA, Philippines — If Malacañang is no longer interested in having emergency powers as they have other alternatives to address the country’s traffic problem, then so be it.
After all, Senator Francis Tolentino has recognized that the problem could still be solved by local government units (LGUs) without granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers.
A bill granting the President special powers to address the traffic crisis was among the first measures the neophyte senator had filed when the 18th Congress opened in July.
While insisting that emergency powers could help address the problem, Tolentino also noted that the executive had already abandoned the idea.
He said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade himself told the Senate last week that the executive is no longer interested in having emergency powers for traffic.
“Again, if Secretary Tugade and he represents the executive branch, is not interested in the emergency powers, I think it’s the option of the executive branch,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Tuesday.
“But we just again, we just offered again the solution, which was proposed in the 17th Congress. And if they have some other alternatives so be it. The legislative branch would jus be supportive of the DOTr (Department of Transportation),” he added.
Even without the emergency powers, Tolentino said there are still other measures that could help alleviate the traffic problem.
The senator mentioned, for instance, a bill allowing LGUs of highly urbanized areas to have their own mass transit facilities.
The LGUs, he said, can have their mass transit facilities without asking for sovereign guarantee, or funding support from the national government.
“What I’m saying is this there are probably might be some local solutions to our national problem. It’s not just the prerogative and the monopoly of the national government to provide the solutions,” he said.
“The local government units, I believe, I came from the local govt sector, can provide some solutions because they are more familiar with their own landscape, their own jurisdiction , so to speak,” added Tolentino, who chairs the Senate committee on local government. /muf
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