Next Speaker says Rody needs emergency powers to fix traffic | Inquirer News
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Next Speaker says Rody needs emergency powers to fix traffic

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 12:36 AM June 15, 2016

IT’S A MALACAÑANG prerogative that can be invoked when the country is in a state of war or a crippling nationwide calamity.

But one of the key allies of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of using it just to ease the daily ordeal of Metro Manila commuters and motorists.

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Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said granting Duterte emergency powers to address the capital’s perennial traffic problem is one of the top-of-mind measures he would push in the 17th Congress.

The executive may seek authority from Congress to use emergency powers to avoid delays that legal issues, like right-of-way cases, may pose on transportation and infrastructure projects, said Alvarez, who also served as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) during the Arroyo administration.

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“The problem of traffic in Metro Manila is not an ordinary problem anymore,” the Davao del Norte congressman said on Tuesday at the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum. “Whatever the executive branch needs—for example, emergency powers—to  solve the traffic crisis, then we have to consider that.”

Too many TROs

“Why emergency powers? At the DOTC, you want to implement something but there are many court cases filed, TROs (temporary restraining orders), so you cannot move. What will you do?” he told the gathering of Inquirer executives, editors, reporters and other employees.

Asked for his advice for the incoming DOTC chief Arthur Tugade, Alvarez said: “Take maintenance (medicine). You will get hypertension there. It’s a tough job. It’s a tough job.”

Alvarez, who last served in government 14 years ago and will again have to endure Metro Manila traffic going to the Batasan complex, echoed Duterte’s plans to build train systems that will link the capital to the regions—up to Nueva Vizcaya in the north, Sorsogon and Batangas in Southern Luzon—as well as a rail system “for the whole of Mindanao.”

In a speech in November, Duterte blamed the Manila visit of Pope Francis—even cursing at the pontiff—as he recounted the day when he got stuck in monstrous traffic in January 2015. The foul-mouthed Davao City mayor later apologized after drawing heavy criticism.

In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions, to exercise powers to carry out a declared national policy, according to Article VI, Sec. 23 (2), of the Constitution.

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Temporary takeover

Under Article XII, Section 17, the State may, during the national emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

The Congress was urged to give then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo emergency powers to declare a state of emergency in certain areas in Mindanao due to bombings in 2002 and to address oil crisis in 2005.

During the frequent brownouts in the 1990s, then President Fidel Ramos was given emergency powers to offer generous incentives to private power producers to boost electricity supply. With Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Metro, News, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rodrigo Duterte, traffic
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