We're waiting for House to work on emergency powers – Poe
MANILA, Philippines – While the Senate has started hearing the proposal to grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to solve the traffic crisis, the House of Representatives has yet to act on the matter.
Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, said this on Tuesday, August 30, after the third hearing was postponed as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) still had no traffic plan to present to lawmakers.
"Gusto kong sabihin sa ating mga kababayan, ang Senado pa lang talaga ngayon ang nagtatrabaho ukol dito sa emergency hearing sapagka't hinihintay pa rin natin ang Kongreso na kumilos, isa 'yun at alam naman nating hindi papasa ang emergency powers na 'yan kahit na pumasa na sa Senado kung wala pa rin ang aming counterpart sa Kongreso," Poe said.
(I want to tell our countrymen, only the Senate has been working on the emergency powers hearing because we are still waiting for the House of Representatives to act, that's one of the reasons and we know that the emergency powers won't be granted without the approval of our counterpart.)
The House of Representatives is currently focused on the passage of the proposed 2017 national budget.
Poe, meanwhile, criticized the DOTr for its failure to submit a detailed plan to solve the traffic crisis in Metro Manila and other cities in the Philippines.
The senator wondered aloud how the agency can seek emergency powers to solve traffic in the metropolis when it does not yet have a plan of action as well as clear goals.
"Ang problema, 'yung mismong mag-iimplementa ng emergency powers, 'yung DOTr, wala pang plano kung papaano nga nila sosolusyunan ang traffic. So parang humihingi sila ng isang kapangyarihan na hindi pa nila alam kung saan gagamitin. 'Yun ang malabo doon," Poe said.
(The problem is the actual agency implementeng the emergency powers, the DOTr, has no plans on how it will solve the traffic. So it's like they're asking for powers when they do not know where to use it. That's unclear in that regard.)
At the August 25 hearing, transportation officials had asked the Senate panel to give them two weeks to submit a list of concrete projects to solve the worsening condition of traffic. (READ: Gov't wants to open up subdivisions to ease traffic)
Under the proposed bills, the President will be granted only two to 3 years of emergency powers. (READ: Special powers for Duterte: LP senators want safeguards)
"Sana naman hindi maubos iyong palugit na iyon sa pagpaplano lamang. Dapat ngayon, may maiprisinta na silang mga plano kung ano ang gagawin nila para masolusyunan ang trapiko sakaling hindi maipasa ang emergency powers bill," Poe said.
(I hope the time won't be wasted on just making plans. As early as now, they should present their plans on how to solve the traffic problem just in case the emergency powers bill isn't approved.) – Rappler.com