Malacañang on Thursday welcomed a lawmaker’s proposal to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to speed up the construction of infrastructure projects under the administration's “Build, Build, Build” program.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the emergency powers proposed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda would remove the roadblocks in the completion of the government’s infrastructure projects.
"The proposal of Congressman Salceda is good, and because one of the reasons why the projects are being slowed down is because of [issues on] right of way," Panelo said.
But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday assailed the proposed granting of special powers to President Duterte for the Build, Build, Build program.
"You do not need emergency powers to do that," Drilon told reporters.
"You do not need emergency powers to make sure that you spend your money on time."
Meanwhile, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday slammed Drilon for saying the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program was a "dismal failure."
"Its deceiving or fake news to say that the Build, Build, Build [program of the Duterte administration was a failure]," Cayetano said.
In House Bill 5456, Duterte is given the authority to exercise all powers needed to carry out a national policy to implement the government's infrastructure program “unhampered by existing laws, agreements, regulations, court orders and procedures that would cause delays in addressing exclusively the implementation of flagship projects.”
Duterte could also “utilize all necessary government resources, exercise police power and employ executive actions” for the implementation of the billions-worth of priority projects under Build, Build, Build program.
HB 5456 also proposes to install safeguards with the implementation of an executive order carrying out provisions of the Freedom of Information proposal and the creation of a Congressional Oversight Committee.
If passed, the measure would allow the ease of “procurement rigidities” under the Government Procurement Law.
Salceda, however, said the public bidding process would still be observed.
He also recommended Presidential Adviser on Flagship Programs and Projects Secretary Vince Dizon to be the flagship manager of the Build, Build, Build program. With Maricel V. Cruz