Poe hits gov’t’s lack of action plan to ease traffic
While defending the proposed emergency powers for traffic, Senator Grace Poe hit the continued lack of action plan by government agencies involved in the implementation of projects and programs that would address the traffic problem in the country.
On Tuesday, the Senate opened the period of interpellations on a bill that seeks to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the perennial traffic problem.
Senator Risa Hontiveros was the first to interpellate Poe, who sponsored the measure on the floor as chair of the Senate committee on public services.
Hontiveros questioned the need for the bill when most of the powers being proposed for President Rodrigo Duterte, through the Traffic Crisis Manager that he would appoint, were already being exercised by various government agencies.
“The President himself also has the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, including the authority to reorganize government offices or units and this power allows him to create inter-agency task force and formulate, coordinate and monitor policies, standards and programs being implemented by the government,” she said.
“Rather than create a new bureaucratic structure integrating all these powers, wouldn’t it be more expeditious for the President to exercise his power of control to achieve the same purpose with these agencies exercising their current regular powers optimally to address our traffic crisis in Metro Manila?” Hontiveros asked.
Poe explained that there is a need to grant the President “extraordinary powers,” saying that the current laws do not adequately provide for the means to expeditiously and effectively solve the traffic and congestion crisis in the country.
“Aside from granting powers to the President, we will also compel the agencies involved here to submit a traffic action plan, which they don’t have,” she said.
“This will actually force them to do work beyond what they’ve been doing and also provide them to be more transparent and also to streamline the processes that we can perhaps do away with in the interest of the public,” Poe added.
In the course of interpellation, Poe expressed her dismay at the Department of Education for rejecting her proposal to declare an early Christmas break for students last year to ease the traffic problem during the season.
“You know just recently, we suggested to the DepEd to move their school break for Christmas a little earlier. They didn’t even listen to us! Well they did, for maybe two days, and then they said we can’t do it because the calendars were already set,” she said.
“I thought we’re supposed to each give what we can in our own way to solve the traffic problem, to give whatever we can? But then they seemed unbendable at that time…” she added.
If passed into law, Poe said, the Traffic Crisis Manager may order the DepEd to adjust the school calendars if needed.
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