Poe on grant of Emergency Powers: It cannot be a shotgun approach

Poe on grant of Emergency Powers: It cannot be a shotgun approach

Senator Grace Poe who chairs the public services committee, said she is just erring on the side of caution and is not totally against the granting of emergency powers to the executive branch of the government- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The senator who happens to be a losing presidential candidate in 2016 said that the granting of emergency powers “cannot be a shotgun approach.”

“Let me stress that I am not against emergency powers. In fact, granting it does not solely rely on me. I am just one vote in the Senate. Like my colleagues, I have to be convinced why it is needed,” Poe, said in a statement.

Senator Grace Poe
(photo credit to owner)

It was earlier this week during the hearing of the committee into traffic problems gripping the Metrothat both senator Poe and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade clashed and debated over the issue of the granting of Congress of emergency powers to the President to solve the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila, most especially in EDSA.

For Tugade’s part he explains that the grant of such powers would answer the perennial slow solving of procurement and right-of-way (ROW) acquisition issues as well as create policies to alleviate traffic in Metro Manila without fear of injunctions.

Poe, in her statement said: “There are already several laws in place to address the legal matters, such as procurement and right-of-way.”

The senator cites Republic Act 9184 which she said already provides the Department of Transportation (DOTr) alternative modes of procurement and limits the period to just three to six months and on the issue of ROW acquisition, Poe cites RA 10752 which she noted has a clear expedited procedure that sets the negotiated sale to just 30 days.

“If that fails, the expropriation case soon after for which Writ of Possession must be issued after seven days from deposit,” she said.

“They cannot be hiding behind court delays because the Supreme Court (SC) already reiterated its marching orders in a circular from the Office of the Court Administrator,” she added.

“While we look for quick fixes, let us not lose sight of the fact that still the best way to decongest our roads is to have mass transport system that will encourage people to leave their cars at home. That’s why we said we need to see the master plan,” Poe said.

The senator though reiterated that even without emergency powers “a lot can still be done.”

“DOTr, if it wants to, can very much function without more powers,” she said.

“The purchase of multi-million critical spare parts for the MRT (Metro Railway Transit) via direct contracting and negotiated procurement proves that procurement is possible in urgent cases even without emergency powers,” she said.

In fact, she said, the DOTr has engaged in several emergency procurement for the MRT without going through a bidding process.

“We can give all the powers they want but if they have no master plan, they will just end up wasting money or, worse, still not being able to achieve anything,” Poe said. 

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Report from PDI

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