Senate wraps up hearings on emergency powers vs traffic

Camille Elemia
Senator Grace Poe says the committee on public services has approached 'the last mile' and would soon endorse the bill for plenary debate

EMERGENCY POWERS. Senator Grace Poe says the Senate may pass the bill granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to solve the traffic crisis before the year ends. Photo from Office of Senator Poe

MANILA, Philippines – The proposed Senate measure granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to fix the traffic crisis in the country would likely be approved by December.

Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services, said her committee has ended the inquiry into the matter on Thursday, September 22, after 3 sessions. 

Poe said the committee has approached “the last mile,” adding it would soon endorse the bill for plenary debate and for approval on second reading.

“I think this might be our last public hearing and then after that, we will be having technical working groups unless something comes up that we need to call another one,” Poe said in her conclusion speech.

The House of Representatives, for its part, is still in the process of hearing the issue. The bill seeking to grant the President emergency powers is among the priority legislations of the Duterte administration.

If approved, the bill would grant Duterte the power to override public bidding for a period of two years for faster implementation of transportation projects.

The Senate measure also seeks to authorize Duterte to reorganize the Department of Transportation, the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Civil Aeronautics Board, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, among others.

The bill also seeks to designate the transportation secretary as traffic crisis manager who will exercise overall land, air, and sea traffic management and control. (READ: Senators want traffic czar as ‘point person’ for emergency powers– Rappler.com