(NOVEMBER 14, 2019) – The house leadership has scrapped a proposal to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to fast-track infrastructure projects under the flagship “Build, Build, Build” program with less than three years before he steps down.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the passage of a law giving the president special powers to finish about 100 big-ticket projects will not achieve much due to time constraints.
“I’m a believer in the special powers or emergency powers; I filed that bill sa Senate. However, I’m going to give those members who filed the bill… a call because the President said ayaw na niya ng emergency o special powers,” Cayetano said in an interview.
Albay Representative Joey Salceda has filed House Bill 5456 which aims to grant Duterte special powers to “ensure the effective implementation, reconfiguration, and harmonization of national and local government projects.”
But Cayetano said the president had already turned down the emergency powers with a few left in his term because he does not want to be accused of corruption.
Duterte had also turned down the special powers requested by the transportation department to fix the traffic mess in the capital.
Cayetano, a staunch ally of the president, said the y should focus on a long-term solution to the worsening traffic situation.
“It will have some advantage pero kumbaga, it will not obtain its objective anymore. Rather than debate on it, especially with the Senate… we’ll focus on the Build, Build, Build,” Cayetano added.
However, the Palace was open to Salceda’s bill.
“Maganda ‘yung kay Cong. Salceda kasi nga one of the reasons why bumabagal ‘yung projects, kasi ‘yung right of way. Nagkakaproblema roon sa mga owner, ‘yung iba, ayaw pumayag,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in his regular press briefing.
Duterte as early as his first State of the Nation Address had asked Congress to grant him emergency powers to resolve the worsening traffic in the metro. But Senator Grace Poe had been in constant disagreement.
The President had already given up on asking for the special powers and said he will just “let EDSA rot there” in one of his speeches. (Randell Ritumalta/MM)