Poe to fast-track bill giving Duterte crisis powers to fix traffic
Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday vowed to fast-track the passage of a measure that would grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic problem in the country that she said has already “paralyzed our economy and our people.”
Poe was elected Tuesday as chair of the Senate committee on public services.
“A Senate bill for such emergency powers has been assigned to the public services committee that I will chair and the best course of action is to set it for public hearing as soon as possible so we can engage the Department of Transportation and all other stakeholders and experts to determine its necessity and if so the best terms under which such powers will have to be carried out to achieve its purpose,” Poe said in a statement.
The senator was reacting to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s bill or the “Traffic Crisis Act,” which seeks to grant emergency powers to Duterte for two years to do away with the mandatory bidding on procurement of transportation equipment and take over errant transport franchises to solve the traffic mess on roads and airports in Metro Manila and Cebu.
The bill also proposes the creation of a “superbody” that would address the road and air traffic congestion in Metro Manila and Cebu province.
Asked if she was amenable to support the proposals, Poe said she was behind all efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people “the quickest way possible.”
“I share the exasperation of our countrymen who have suffered long enough. Thus, I fully support all efforts to alleviate the suffering of our people the quickest way possible,” she said.
“And I am ready to do my share as chairman of the Senate public services committee to collaborate with the executive in order to fast track the process and assure that the law we will come up with is what we really need to effectively address the traffic mess that has paralyzed our economy and our people.”
“Our hearings will be fair, transparent and expeditious. We will uphold the best interest of the public first and foremost,” she added.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, also threw his support behind the “intention” of the bill.
“Any counterpart or similar measure in the Senate will be referred to the public services committee headed by Senator Poe. Am in favor of the intention of both bills and it’s just a matter of ironing out the details and smoothening any potential kinks,” Angara said in a separate text message.
But Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wants to study first the proposals, especially the granting of emergency powers to the President, to ensure that these would not be abused.
“We will study the proposals. There ought to be clear cut safeguards and mechanisms of congressional oversight in the exercise of such powers to prevent abuses and provide a check,” Pangilinan said in another statement. RAM
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