Instead, he said the House would exercise its oversight function to help government agencies like the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
Joven Cagande / File
House abandons emergency traffic powers for Duterte
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — The House of Representatives will no longer consider the proposed grant of emergency traffic powers to President Duterte.           

“We are no longer pursuing it because President Duterte doesn’t want it anymore,” Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano told ABS-CBN yesterday.

Instead, he said the House would exercise its oversight function to help government agencies like the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“We will also support proposals for putting up mass transportation systems like railways in various parts of the country. The construction of the Mindanao railway will start next year,” he said.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, then Davao City mayor Duterte promised that he would solve the traffic problem on EDSA in three to six months.

Last August, the President said he was no longer interested in emergency traffic powers that would allow him to hasten processes like procurement leading to solving the traffic problems in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

He said it was Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade who proposed such extraordinary authority.            

“But here comes a lady, atribida ang tawag ko diyan… it’s good to be a crusading public officer. But kung sumobra ka (if you go overboard) and you think all elected and government officials are corrupt, oh well then. Sabi ko kung ganun ang pag-iisip n’yo, ‘wag na (I said, if that’s what you think forget it). Let EDSA rot there,” he said.

Feeling alluded to, Sen. Grace Poe, who has been conducting hearings on the proposed emergency traffic powers as chair of the Senate public services committee, said Duterte should not blame her for the traffic crisis in Metro Manila.            

“I’m not the one on the driver’s seat,” she said.            

She said the DOTr failed to present to her committee a plan on how to solve the crisis.

Cayetano said he was still a senator when the Poe committee first tackled the proposed emergency powers.

“In fairness to the DOTr, they did submit a broad plan, but Senator Poe wants all the details. If it were a building plan, she wanted details like how many nails and bags of cement were needed,” he said.

He lamented that the Senate “was focusing on the traffic problem.”

“We already know the problem, we should focus on the solution,” he said.

The Speaker also said right-of-way issues should not delay public infrastructure projects like roads.

“There is a law that provides that once the government deposits the assessed value of a private property to be expropriated, it can already enter that property and build the road,” he said.

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