The Senate is expected to speed up deliberations on the proposed emergency powers for traffic when sessions resume after its six-week break, following a drawing up of “common priorities” by the Palace and Congress, Senator Grace Poe said.
Poe, principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1284 or the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, expressed optimism that the chamber will conclude the period of interpellation soon after the resumption of session in May and eventually pass the measure during the 14 calendar days prior to adjournment of session in June.
“Ending the daily agony and sufferings of our commuters is long overdue. Any further delay in solving the traffic crisis is denying them the basic rights and due service they deserve to get from government,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.
“While we agree to the emergency powers, we shall ensure that such will be FOI-compliant, fiscally responsible and adhering to deadlines,” the senator added, assuring that the massive transportation projects will be up for public scrutiny.
Recently, Malacañang and Congress officials met to list 10 priority measures which included the emergency powers to solve traffic in Metro Manila and other urban areas.
“Palagi kong pinapaalala at ako’y nagsalita na rin sa plenaryo na mawawalan ito ng saysay pag hindi natin naipasa agad, kaya nga ito ay emergency,” the senator earlier said.
Poe had sponsored the emergency powers bill as early as Dec. 14 last year. Before the Senate went on break last month, the proposed measure reached the period of interpellation. At least five senators have already scrutinized the bill in plenary, while several others have expressed their intent to interpellate and introduce amendments to the bill when sessions resume in May.
At the House, the measure has been approved at the committee level, while plenary debates have yet to start.
Meanwhile, Poe called on concerned agencies to implement immediate solutions to address the worsening traffic and ease commuter woes.
“Pinapaalala ko rin sa iba’t ibang mga sangay ng gobyerno na nakasentro sa paglutas ng problema ng traffic na hindi naman kailangang hintayin ang emergency powers para magkaroon ng agarang solusyon sa ibang mga problema natin, katulad ng mga illegally parked vehicles,” the senator stressed.
The proposed emergency powers bill authorizes the President, through his appointed Traffic Crisis Manager, to use alternative methods of procurement under existing laws to expedite the implementation of key transportation projects.
The measure covers land, sea and air transport that sets parameters on how to exercise the emergency powers.