Duterte’s allies have been aggressive in campaigning for the BBB program, defending it from critics, particularly Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon who described it as a dismal failure.
Michael Varcas/File
Palace thumbs down emergency power proposals
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Malacañang has turned down proposals to grant President Duterte special powers meant to help him expedite flagship projects under the administration’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program.

Presidential spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the Chief Executive will simply invoke necessary powers under the law to facilitate the implementation of vital infrastructure projects, especially those under BBB. 

He also stressed the Office of the President will not hesitate to use the full force of the law in exercising its power of imminent domain to address right-of-way issues.

“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo said in a statement.

“One of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings therefor to acquire private property for public use,” he said.

Panelo said this power is “particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure.”

“The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process,” he said.

It was Albay Rep. Joey Salceda who proposed granting special powers to Duterte through House Bill No. 5456.

“While we respect the wisdom of Congress and laud the gentleman from Albay in seeing the importance of this flagship infrastructure program of the current government, we consider this proposed measure belated and no longer a priority legislative agenda of the President, given that we only have less than three years left in office,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s allies have been aggressive in campaigning for the BBB program, defending it from critics, particularly Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon who described it as a dismal failure.

On the contrary, Panelo said BBB has 35 ongoing constructions, 32 projects about to commence within six to eight months, 21 in advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.

“We expect 38 projects to be completed by 2022, 22 partially operational or at substantial completion, and while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this administration,” he said.

 

 

 

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