Senator Grace Poe pointed out that it is not her fault that the granting of emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the worsening scenario of vehicular traffic and transportation woes is being denied.

“I am not the one in the driver’s seat, when it comes to traffic. It’s an administration issue, not a legislative one,” Poe said in an interview with ANC. 

Poe is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services. The senator has been consistently insisting the need of special emergency powers, but concerned government officials failed to do so.  

She specified that it is President Rodrigo Duterte who has the power to encourage Cabinet members who can change the traffic conditions, DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) and the DOTr (Department of Transportation), which ones that can draft the traffic masterplan. 

“They could have huddled over a traffic plan. That’s all I have been asking for — a traffic plan and a transportation plan — which they did not submit,” Poe said.

“If they say we did submit a list of projects for emergency powers, yes they did, it included facial recognition software for their employees. What does that have to do with decongestion?” she exclaimed. 

The government’s ignorance 

Poe also explained that the emergency power is longer needed due to the existing laws, specifically the procurement laws.

“I don’t know if it’s ignorance of the law or playing ignorant but I am sure they could have done their research. There are already several laws in place,” Poe said, citing the Republic Act 8941 or the Procurement Law that focuses on emergency procurement measures. 

Poe also noted that Duterte even released an executive order excluding the Department of Transportation from going through the Government Procurement Policy Board. 

“There are laws already in place. All they have to do was utilize them. Even the Supreme Court has issued several laws that would help them.”

During the oath-taking of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines in Malacañang, Duterte criticized Poe for supposedly hindering his emergency powers to ease traffic congestion in the metro, saying the traffic was Poe’s “legacy”.

“Pero ‘yang Edsa, hinayaan ko talaga. There was this one lady senator who said na: ‘No, no, ma-corrupt ‘yan.’ Hindi pa nga nag-umpisa ng project, nagsasalita na,” the President said. 

“Sinadya ko talaga ‘yan. Pagdating ng panahon p***** i**, meron na ngang solution eh sabihin niyo ‘corruption’ … Yan ang legacy niya. Make it a legacy ng pagka-politiko. It’s not mine,” the President yelped.

Last Tuesday, a senate hearing headed by the Senate public services committee was held. 
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade urged once more the grant of special emergency powers to the President to address the transportation and congestion problems in the country.

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