September 14, 2019
SEN. Mary Grace Poe on Friday said she supports granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency power provided it is backed by a well-studied master plan to solve the traffic in EDSA.
“It is not the lack of powers, but the lack of a master plan and more aggressive action from the DoTr (Department of Transportation) that bears emphasizing,” said Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Service,
The senator said without a master plan, no matter how much power it would have, the DoTr would just end up wasting money and, worse, would not achieve anything.
Poe also said she was just one vote in the Senate and, like the other lawmakers, would have to be convinced why granting emergency powers is need.
“For you to give something as immense as the emergency powers, you have to be sniper accurate, it cannot be a shotgun approach. It’s like giving a loaded gun to a child if they don’t have a plan,” she said.
“If they come up with the traffic plan and deliver on the projects that they should have delivered years ago, traffic situation would have been better,” Poe said.
Poe said even without emergency powers, there were already several laws in place to address the legal matters, such as procurement and right-of-way, as well as current road and rail projects, to ease traffic.
The lawmaker cited the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road that is expected to be completed by January, the Light Railway Transit-1 and the 48 Dalian trains that should be made operational.
“Most importantly, coordination among transportation agencies, the MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority), local government units and concerned stakeholders should be on a regular basis, so that one will know what the other is doing or plans to do to mitigate the situation on the road,” Poe said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Tolentino on Thursday declared support for the DoTr’s plans for the country during the hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Services, where Transportation Secretary Tugade was one of the resource persons.
Tugade was questioned about DoTr’s transportation plan, which was different from a traffic management plan
According to Tolentino, traffic management is the mandate of a separate government agency and should not be thrown at the DoTr, whose mandate is to continually improve transport system, and ensure that transportation facilities are efficient, cost-effective and reliable.
Heat during the Senate probe escalated when Poe said Tugade should be fired for failing to resolve traffic problems.
“The secretary and his department can only do as much with whatever resources and authority they have at their disposal. Kaya nga po isinusulong natin ang emergency powers para sa Pangulo upang mas mapabilis ang pagpapatupad ng mga infrastrure programs designed to help ease traffic (This is the reason why we are pushing for the emergency powers for the President in order to hasten the implementation of the infrastructure programs designed to help ease traffic), said Tolentino, who was also once involved in managing traffic in Metro Manila as MMDA chairman.
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