MANILA – Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to spell out concrete projects before the Senate resumes hearings on the proposed emergency powers for transport woes.
Poe, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, suspended the supposed third hearing on the proposed powers on Tuesday saying that the DOTr has yet to submit a concrete projects which need the powers.
“The Executive branch is in a hurry to pass the emergency powers bill, but based on our hearings, we have learned that the DOTr and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have yet to come up with concrete projects under the emergency powers bill,” Poe said.
“Under the proposed emergency power bills, we are giving them two to three years. I hope that that time is not wasted on planning alone,” she added.
To recall, the senate panel began hearing on the proposed powers on Aug 10 which was attended by all transport sector heads including DOTr Secretary Art Tugade.
A second hearing commenced on Aug 25, which was attended by DOTr Undersecretary for Rail Noel Kintanar, urban planners, transport and commuter groups and other stakeholders.
Here, transportation officials asked the Senate panel to give them two weeks to prepare a bill of particulars, including list of proposed projects, to solve the traffic crisis.
Asked if the government will be exempted from regular procurement process for two to three years as proposed, Poe said that it might not last that long if it is not necessary.
Poe meanwhile assured that the emergency powers for transport problems, if granted, would not be authoritarian.
She said that the emergency powers should have a deadline and noted that the Congress and Senate had the power to take this back if the government does not follow.
“Our plan is to have a time-frame of until when emergency powers will be necessary and to have an oversight committee,” she said.
Tugade earlier vowed to assure that emergency powers would be compliant with the Freedom of Information (FOI) executive order, accountable and time-bound.