Insisting that the Transport department could do many things it wanted to do without emergency powers being granted to the President, Senator Grace Poe clashed with the agency’s head Arthur Tugade on the issue.
“There are alternative modes of procurement that is allowed under existing laws. There are things that no longer need emergency powers. Our trains do not need emergency powers to acquire,” said Poe, head of the Senate committee on public services that is conducting a Senate inquiry on the need to grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte on Tuesday said he will no longer seek emergency powers to address the traffic problem. He ordered the Highway Patrol Group to accompany ambulances amid reports that patients die as vehicles get stuck in the perpetual traffic jams in Metro Manila.
Tugade has maintained the need for emergency powers to address Metro Manila’s worsening traffic problem.
In his opening speech, Tugade said had the emergency powers been granted during the first three years of the Duterte administration, they would have done so many things to resolve the traffic jam.
“We are hoping that now, they would give attention to the emergency powers we have been asking,” said Tugade, adding that the emergency powers the Duterte administration were seeking had unique features and good for two to three years.
He 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.
Poe hastily contradicted Tugade and blurted out, “it won’t be faster.”
She likewise said if there was an urgent need for emergency powers, there was no reason not to grant them.
“But do not say that you cannot do your job because there is no emergency power,” Poe told Tugade.
Tugade said what he meant was that more could have been done by the government if emergency powers had been granted.
He added that some of their projects were delayed because of the ruling of different courts.
Poe said she would not allow the issue to easily slip away, adding that the bill on emergency powers was not even certified as urgent by the President. With MJ Blancaflor and PNA