Grace Poe: What we need is a master plan to solve traffic, not emergency powers

Sen. Grace Poe and DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade photo from Youtube (ctto)

The Senate Committee on Public Service chaired by Senator Grace Poe, held a public hearing on Tuesday and discussed Senate Bill 213, which renews a proposal to grant President Duterte emergency powers to speed up traffic and infrastructure projects. Sen. Francis Tolentino filed the said bill.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade also present at the hearing and made an assertion on the urgency of granting emergency powers but failed to convince the senators why it is needed.

During the hearing, Tugade blamed the failure of Congress to grant emergency powers for the delay in the implementation of the DOTr’s programs, in which Sen. Poe did not agree with and triggered a short argument.
The DOTr secretary said, “Kung nabigyan sana ng emergency powers noon, dapat ngayon, nirerepaso na natin ‘yong nagawa – kung nagbigay. Pero sabi nga nila, walang huli sa tamang gawain”
“With the emergency powers, the government can immediately adopt and implement policies without having the need to amend existing laws and “wait for the tediously long process of legislation.” Tugade added.

According to Tugade, it will also fast track procurement and road right-of-way acquisition and relocation processes; and will allow the DOTr to easily implement its priority projects.
Poe, who also sponsored the emergency powers bill in the Senate during the previous Congress disagreed to Tugade’s remarks.
She said the DOTr should be able to do its job even without the emergency powers with the current laws and executive policies.

But Tugade still insisted on the need for the grant of emergency powers despite agreeing that the DOTr was able to work on the rehabilitation of the MRT-3, among others.
However, Senator Grace Poe insisted after President Duterte’s criticisms against her, that the country needs a master plan on how to resolve the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, not emergency powers.
Poe earlier rejected the President’s request for emergency powers to unclogged the traffic mess in the capital.

“It is not the lack of emergency powers but the lack of a master plan,” she said during the committee hearing.

She emphasized that the government has an approved “dream plan” but it remained unclear whether the transportation agencies have adopted the plan for implementation.
“The cost to implement the dream plan is less than what we are losing daily due to the traffic problem,” she said.
Senator Ralph Recto added that the master plan should be prioritized by the government so we can determine whether or not the emergency powers grant is necessary.
“Have you presented a plan? Wala pa akong nakikita dito. In the last three years wala pa akong nakikitang presentation dito sa Senado.” Recto said.

Source: Poltiko

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