Press Release
August 9, 2016

Senate hearing on emergency transport powers set Wednesday

The Senate Committee on Public Services will hold a public hearing tomorrow, August 10, to discuss the possibility of granting "emergency powers" to President Rodrigo Duterte so the government can address the chaotic traffic problem in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Duterte asked Congress to pass a measure to mobilize government resources and undertake emergency measures to address the transportation crisis in Metro Manila, which contributes to an estimated productivity loss of P2.4 billion daily, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Services, said two bills and three resolutions on the transportation situation and the possibility of granting emergency powers to the President had been filed in the Senate and assigned to her committee.

"I am ready to do my share as chairman of the Senate Public Services Committee to collaborate with the executive in order to fast-track the process and assure that the law we will come up with is what we really need to effectively address the traffic mess that has paralyzed our economy and our people. We will uphold the best interest of the public first and foremost," Poe said.

The bills to be discussed during the hearing are Senate Bill No. 11 filed by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon which provides the President "emergency powers to address the transportation crisis in urban areas," along with Senate Bill No. 154 filed by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito , which grants "the President special powers, prescribing urgent and related measures necessary and proper to effectively address the crisis in the transportation sector."

Poe said Senate Minority Floor Leader Ralph Recto had filed Senate Resolutions No. 33 and 59, while Ejercito filed Resolution No. 63, which directs the Committee on Public Services to conduct an inquiry on "granting special or emergency powers to the President."

She said officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), its attached agencies and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will brief the committee on the state of land and air transport in the country during the hearing. The committee will also extensively discuss the government's plan to address the traffic problem, including the appropriate modes of procurement and safeguards that need to be instituted to promote transparency and eliminate opportunities for corruption.

Poe said the committee will "define the scope of the President's emergency powers and ensure transparency, accountability and effectiveness."

Invited to attend tomorrow's hearing are officials from the MMDA, the agency tasked to manage traffic in Metro Manila, officials from the DOTr and its attached agencies including the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, Light Rail Transit Authority, Philippine National Railways, Light Rail Transit Authority (including the Metro Rail Transit operations), Civil Aeronautics Board, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority and the Office of Transportation Security. (Apple Buenaventura)

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