The House of Representatives will not prioritize the passage of a measure that proposes to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila and other major cities, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Monday.
Cayetano told a television interview the President had given up on the proposed emergency powers.
“Not anymore because the President said he doesn’t want it anymore or you cannot attack a crisis with emergency powers when you’re in the middle of it already,” he told ANC.
Duterte admitted he would not pressure Congress into giving him emergency powers to solve the traffic gridlock, saying Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade was the one wanting such powers for the Chief Executive.
Duterte also said he was no longer pursuing the plan to ask Congress to allot funds for traffic-related projects because a female senator—obviously referring to Senator Grace Poe—claimed the money was prone to corruption.
Instead of emergency powers, Cayetano said the House would exercise its “oversight function” to help expedite infrastructure projects which had always been delayed by right of way issues.
Cayetano said “we will push for mass transportation and we will not only pass legislation; if needed, we will use our oversight powers. There’s no reason that right of way should be a problem.”
He explained “the House can step in and talk to the [city] council[s]” on possible delays in the construction of the Metro Manila subway.
At a Senate hearing last September, Tugade maintained the need for emergency powers to address Metro Manila’s worsening traffic problem.
Tugade said the grant of emergency powers would provide for the immediate adoption of policy directions that would “normally require the amendment of existing laws and ordinances.”
But Poe said there were alternative modes of procurement allowed under existing laws to which Tugade agreed.
However, Tugade said the procurement could be faster with emergency powers.