THE head of the House committee on transportation on Monday asked the Transport department to submit projects that can quickly solve the traffic crisis in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao instead of backing infrastructure projects worth P8 trillion that cannot be immediately implemented and may not be financed.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, whose committee is hearing the proposed emergency powers to be given Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, also vowed to check any anomalous negotiated contracts being proposed by the department.
“Fears about negotiated projects, about no bidding are always there. But of course, we will not allow that,” Sarmiento told reporters.
“We will ensure all projects are above-board, complete and transparent.”
Earlier, Tugade told reporters his department wanted P8 trillion for the priority project to address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila and other congested areas across the country.
Tugade’s latest figure is 500 percent higher than the original amount his department submitted to Congress.
Sarmiento said his committee had yet to see the details of Tugade’s new proposal since what his department had first submitted was a wish list of projects worth P1.4 trillion.
He said Tugade’s department was able to produce a proposal for big-ticket infrastructure projects but failed to come up with immediate solutions to the traffic problem.
“That P8 trillion is actually just a plan, but the traffic crisis is such a huge problem that has to be addressed immediately,” he said.
“The P8 trillion is huge. Where do we get the funding for this?”
Earlier, Senator Grace Poe said Tugade should come up with better plans to address the worsening traffic crisis in the country”•better than the ones he presented to Congress when he asked for emergency powers from President Rodrigo Duterte.
Poe, who heads the Senate committee on public services, said the work of her committee had been made difficult by the Transport department’s grandiose proposals that were unlikely to be financed.
Tugade was bypassed by the bicameral Commission on Appointments last month amid questions on his competence and the way he was running his department. He is considered on holdover status until Duterte reappoints him.