‘We’ll be FOI-compliant,’ says Tugade on special powers
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday allayed fears that the government’s desired emergency powers for President Rodrigo Duterte to solve the traffic crisis would spawn graft and corruption.
In a Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum, Tugade said his department would be transparent and accountable in its projects and transactions, vowing to adhere to the Freedom of Information Act should the Congress approve their request for special powers.
“We will be FOI-compliant. At saka ano ba naman ang pinuputakte nila? Two years lang ’yan. It’s not as if we are asking for emergency powers all throughout the President’s term,” Tugade said of critics.
“Naniniwala pa rin ako na bukas ang loob ng Kongreso upang aprubahan ang emergency powers,” he added.
The emergency powers would allow Duterte to conduct selective bidding, direct contracting, or negotiated procurement for projects aimed at dealing with the traffic problem. The bill would also prevent lower courts from issuing temporary restraining orders against the projects, with only the Supreme Court having the authority do such.
But Tugade maintained that public biddings will still be held for their big-ticket projects, but noted that processes will be reduced for a faster and more efficient implementation.
Last week, Tugade and other Cabinet officials presented the administration’s P8-trillion infrastructure program, including the constructing of roads and railways and improvement of airports.
“Why do we have to build infrastructure? Because we need mobility and connectivity,” Tugade said, citing the high cost of goods and services. “There’s no denying that railroad is one of the most efficient mass transport system.”
Keeping in mind factors such as population density in the metropolis, Tugade said the projects were aimed at reducing travel time and time in traffic.
Lawmakers are still deliberating on the parameters of the special powers, but Tugade said he was hoping it will be granted by yearend.
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