Palace: Push for Duterte emergency powers to hasten ‘Build’ projects ‘belated’
MANILA, Philippines—The push to grant President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” program of his administration is already overdue and no longer among the priorities of the Chief Executive, Malacañang said Saturday.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier filed House Bill 5456, granting Duterte “Special Powers to urgently utilize all necessary government resources, exercise police power, and employ executive actions and measures to ensure the effective implementation, reconfiguration, and harmonization of national and local government projects.”
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s legal counsel, said the President will instead “maximize what is presently available under our laws” to ensure the implementation of the ambitious infrastructure program.
“One of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings therefor to acquire private property for public use,” Panelo said.
This power, according to the Palace official, is “particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure.”
“The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process,” he said.
The Duterte administration identified 75 flagship infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program in 2016.
The projects were supposed to usher in the golden age of infrastructure in the country and help spur development.
But Duterte’s economic managers earlier “revisited” the list add more realistic projects and drop those that are not feasible.
From the initial 75 flagship projects, the new list would be consist of some 100 projects.
In the updated list, 35 projects were ongoing constructions; 32 projects about to commence construction within 6-8 months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.
“We expect 38 projects to be completed by 2022, 22 partially operational or at substantial completion, and while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this Administration,” Panelo said.
Edited by MUF
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