JV Ejercito also wants to give Duterte emergency powers
MANILA — Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito filed a bill, on Wednesday, that would grant President Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic crisis, saying road congestion in Metro Manila has become counterproductive and burdensome for the region’s dwellers.
Through Senate Bill No. 154, Ejercito wants to give Mr. Duterte special powers and “wider elbow room to reorganize, coordinate national and local government projects, and harmonize the various government agencies’ operational enforcement of traffic management plans.”
He is the second senator to file a measure granting the President expanded authority, following Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon’s bill proposing the same to speed up procurement for transport and infrastructure projects. (In the House of Representatives, newly released Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has filed a bill also granting emergency powers to Duterte to tackle the traffic crisis.)
Like Drilon’s proposal, Ejercito said the grant should take effect for two years, and that a congressional oversight committee must be constituted to check on the President’s exercise of special authority.
The bill empowers Mr. Duterte to “reform and harmonize national and local government projects, and rationalize operational enforcement of traffic plans” by state agencies involved in traffic management.
The President would also have the authority to appoint the transportation secretary or a representative as the national “transport manager” to serve as the point-person on the crisis response.
The bill also proposed the reform of the the public air, sea and land transport systems through changes in franchising and fare schemes, and public transport infrastructure.
Ejercito also proposed a grant for the President to “exercise eminent domain,” through which he could assert the state’s right-of-way and acquire real property through expropriation so that critical transport infrastructure could be built.
As in Drilon’s measure, Ejercito also proposed the executive’s “exemption from procurement rules” so that the President could use faster and simpler methods of procurement to speed up transport-related projects.
The measure also barred all courts except the Supreme Court from issuing injunctions or temporary restraining orders that could stall government projects meant to address the traffic crisis. SFM
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