Ejercito sees emergency powers as solution to traffic woes in PH
Senator JV Ejercito stressed on Tuesday his hopes to urgently pass the bill granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve the country’s perennial traffic crisis.
“I’m still hoping that it (Emergency Powers bill) would be passed. I still feel that it would be able to help the massive infrastructure development,” Ejercito said on the sidelines of the road safety forum organized by the VERA Files and the World Health Organization in Mandaluyong City.
READ: Poe debunks Roque’s claim on status of proposed emergency powers
Ejercito, vice chair of the Senate public services committee, said procurement problems especially of new train coaches and other necessities, among others, could be solved by the proposed measure.
“All those projects that would fall under emergency powers would be exempted from the TRO (temporary restraining orders), injunction, kasi ito ‘yung nakakabagal eh (because these are hampering it),” the senator said.
“So this time around there will be exemption, but SC (Supreme Court) can issue injunction para may (so there can be also) checks and balance pa rin,” he added.
To make sure that transparency would still be observed by government agencies, Ejercito said all processes should be “FOI-compliant” or anybody who wants to have information could access or request through the freedom of information system.
The Emergency Powers Bill is currently on second reading and nearing the end of the period of interpellations, Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate public services panel and author of the bill, said on Tuesday.
Its counterpart measure at the House of Representatives, which is the Traffic Crisis Bill, has not yet entered second reading, she added.
“Although not certified urgent, we have been conducting non-stop interpellations on the EP measure. Once the Senate concludes the period of amendments on the budget bill, then I shall resume interpellations on the EP,” said Poe, who previously urged the President to certify the measure as urgent, to fast-track its approval.
A certification of urgency, she said, will allow Congress to pass the measure on second and third reading within the same day.
With only three weeks left before the Senate goes into break, Poe expressed doubts that they would pass the bill before the year ends, unless Duterte certifies it as urgent.
Under the bill, the President would be granted emergency powers to “urgently utilize all necessary government resources, exercise police power, including eminent domain, and employ executive actions and measures to ensure the effective implementation, reconfiguration, and harmonization of national and local government projects intended to directly address the traffic and congestion crisis.” /jpv
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