Duterte denies asking emergency powers to solve traffic problem
President Rodrigo Duterte disowned on Wednesday the proposal to grant him emergency powers to solve the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.
Duterte, in a speech before the mass oath-taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang, called the move as a “lousy talk” initiated by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
“Wala kayong narinig you never have… Ayan o, you hear me something like, ‘I am asking this power to expedite the traffic.’ Wala kayong narinig. It was the councilors and maybe (Transportation Secretary Arthur) Tugade because that was what he needs, to do the right thing. Pero wala kayong narinig sa akin,” Duterte said.
(You never heard from me say something like, “I am asking this power to expedite the traffic.” You did not hear me say it. It was the councilors and maybe Tugade because that was what he needs, to do the right thing. But you do not hear anything from me.)
“And so when they started with that kind of lousy talk, I just kept silent. Wala naman akong sinabi na (I did not say anything that, ‘We are in a mire and a quagmire sa trapik, we are stuck with it because I do not have the money,’” he added.
The President also challenged anyone to go “two steps back” if he had asked for such power, as some officials have suggested it would pave the way for corruption because biddings would be suspended.
He said that he was satisfied with the available resources, including the budget allocated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“And if I can only contribute to the four years remaining, okay na rin sa akin. Hindi ninyo ako nakita na naghingi talaga (it’s okay with me. You did not see me asking for it). Never once nagsabi ako sa Congress na bigyan ninyo ako nito (Never once I told Congress to give me this),” he said.
Since last year, Tugade has been pushing the Congress to provide Duterte with emergency powers to fast track implementation of traffic-related projects. Many senators supported this idea, particularly Sen. Grace Poe, who had filed Senate Bill 1284 granting the President such powers. /jpv
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