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To solve Metro Manila traffic: Yap files bill granting Duterte emergency power

CEBU, Philippines - Bohol 3rd district Representative Arthur Yap filed House Bill 38 granting emergency powers for a period of one year to President Rodrigo Duterte “to address the Metro Manila Traffic and Transport Crisis,” which he said caused huge economic damage at about P2.4 billion per day or about P576 billion yearly.

Yap said the emergency power would allow the President “to utilize all necessary government resources, to exercise or employ executive actions and measures, necessary and incidental, unhampered by existing laws, regulations and procedures to solve this burgeoning problem” of traffic.

HB 38 seeks to empower the President “to reorganize the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, attached or related agencies, especially those related to traffic management, such as the Land Transportation Office, Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board, Maritime Industry Authority, Civil Aeronautics Board, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Toll Regulatory Board, Light Rail Transit Authority, and Philippine National Railways, to make them more effective, innovative, and responsive to the traffic crisis.”

Yap also proposed to empower the President to “designate and appoint a traffic czar, with extraordinary powers to sufficiently and efficiently discharge his duties and responsibilities for the soonest abatement of the crisis.”

The traffic czar shall have the power to override local ordinances, permits and licenses, including those allowing the operation of public conveyances, parking of vehicles, operation of businesses, and construction of structures, public utility vehicle terminals that impede traffic flow on major and secondary roads needed as alternate routes.

Yap said the traffic czar shall however “continually coordinate with LGU executives and their officials and the private sector in the execution of traffic and transport plans, programs and measures.” He or she could also “enlist and deputize traffic enforcement units of the MMDA and the LGUs,”

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The emergency powers of the President shall include the following: Right of eminent domain by expropriating private property for right-of-way necessary for infrastructure projects or public convenience; reform the mass transport systems; reorient traffic enforcement units; resolve transport and infrastructure issues; formulate holistic and long term a plans and program for transport and traffic management; and be exempted from court injunctions.

As a form of check and balance, Yap said there will be a Congressional Oversight Committee to monitor the implementation of the law. This committee will be composed of five members each from the House of Representatives and the Senate, to monitor the implementation of the law, and submit periodic reports, evaluations and recommendations to the two houses of Congress. 

The Office of the President itself will also submit a quarterly report to Congress, Yap said in explaining his bill. He added that the President may abolish or create offices; split, group, or merge positions; transfer functions, equipment, properties, records and personnel; institute drastic cost-cutting measures and take such other related actions necessary to carry out the purpose.

Yap added that the President may waive the application of Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Reform Law in entering into transport and traffic infrastructure contracts, provided that these shall not be disadvantageous to the government.  (FREEMAN)

 

 

 

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