Press Release
October 12, 2016

Cayetano: Emergency powers, Du30's political leadership to solve PH traffic mess

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said granting the President emergency powers, coupled with the new administration's strong political leadership, will allow government to address the enduring traffic and congestion problem in the country.

During last Wednesday's (October 12) Senate committee hearing, Cayetano stressed that if the previous administration had succeeded in making existing procurement laws work in synergy, the country's traffic crisis would have been resolved early on, hence, there would have been no need for emergency powers.

"We have the Procurement Act, we have the NEDA JV (National Economic and Development Authority Joint-Venture) Guidelines, and we have the Build-operate-transfer (BOT) Law. Obviously, if all of them were working in synergy, we would not have this crisis," the senator said.

"There is also one element that is not in the law - leadership," Cayetano added, as he expressed confidence in the new administration's commitment and dedication to resolve the problem.

Cayetano said giving emergency powers to the President and the executive branch would speed up the procurement of transport and infrastructure projects in the country, as it would relax strict rules for unsolicited proposals and time tables for such projects.

This in turn will pave the way for the construction of faster and more reliable transport services throughout the Philippines, he noted.

Furthermore, the senator said once the emergency powers are granted by Congress, the administration should guarantee that the concerns of the public will be prioritized over those of big business owners.

He also called for stronger cooperation between the government and the private sector in making sure that infrastructure projects will not be held hostage by court cases, which usually cause delays in execution.

"Projects being tied up in court cases for long periods of time would spell a lose-lose case instead of a win-win case for us," Cayetano said.

The senator was among those who filed a measure at the Senate seeking to fix the country's worsening traffic situation. He filed Senate Bill No. 999 or the "Freedom from Traffic and Congestion Act of 2016," which seeks to authorize the President and heads of transport-related executive agencies to utilize necessary resources and employ executive actions to address the crisis.

SBN 999 will empower the executive branch to override various transport agencies' regulations, licenses, and procedures, exercise right of eminent domain by expropriating private property, and be exempted from procurement laws and Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs), which usually delay infrastructure projects.

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