Poe: We’ll give emergency powers to Duterte, but…
Warning against possible abuse, Senator Grace Poe said it was “not that easy” to grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to solve the traffic crisis in the country, especially with the trillions of pesos that the government is seeking for its big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services that heard the proposed emergency powers bill, said safeguards must be put into place to assure that funds will be used properly.
“Let me tell you, we want to give that emergency powers already but it’s not that easy… With the emergency powers, we have to be careful. Because they want to spend eight trillion pesos, can you imagine how much money that is? I said, we will give it but we need to put safeguards para hindi tayo pwedeng pagnakawan,” Poe said in a student forum at De La Salle University on Saturday.
“But even if we give that to them, you think traffic will be solved immediately? No. A lot of the things they can do now, like clearing the places with no parking zones, by making sure that there are enough parking lots, by making sure that law enforcers are actually doing their jobs,” she added.
The emergency powers bill is expected to be approved by the Senate before yearend.
The special 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.
Poe said the last time emergency powers were granted to a President did not turn out really well, when the government had to “contract out more power plants” due to the energy crisis.
“Until now, we have one of the most expensive power rates in the world and some people say it’s because of the emergency powers. The government gave so much sovereign guarantees, yun bang kahit hindi gamitin yung kuryente na iyon babayaran pa rin iyan ng gobyerno. Kanino pinapasa ang gastos? Sa atin din, kaya nga tipid na tipid tayo…pero when you go to other countries like Thailand or Singapore, hindi naman nila binabayaran katulad ng pagbabayad natin,” she added.
Poe was referring to the frequent brownouts in the 1990s, when former President Fidel Ramos was given emergency powers to offer generous incentives to private power producers to increase energy supply./rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.