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Poe, Tugade clash on Digong emergency powers

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (5th from left) attends a Senate hearing on traffic situation along with LTFRB and MMDA officials. (Hana Bordey)

Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade is seeking emergency powers for President Rodrigo Duterte to finally solve the country’s worsening traffic situation.

Tugade clarified during Tuesday’s Senate hearing that the power is temporary and only for solutions to the traffic problems

“Kung napagbigyan lang sana ng emergency power noon, dapat ngayon nirerepaso na natin ‘yung mga nagawa. Kami ay umaasa na ngayon ay mabigyang pansin ang emergency power na aming hinihingi,” he said.

But. Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Services, would have none of it.

“There are alternative modes of procurement that is allowed under existing laws. May mga bagay na hindi kailangan ng emergency power” Poe said. “What can really ease the traffic problem is stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway project. Another is the deployment of new trains.”

Tugade said procurement can be achieved faster with emergency powers, something that Poe disagreed with anew.

“Hindi mapapabilis, sa ngayon nga hindi nagagwa e…Meron tayong recourse sa ngayon. Kung talagang kailangan ang emergency power e bakit hindi ibibigay, pero wag sisihin na kaya hindi nagagawa ang trabaho dahil wala ‘yan,” she said.

Tugade said some DoTr projects would have finished faster but were met by different court injunctions.

Poe insisted a thorough study must be done before Congress can grant emergency powers to the President.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia and chair Danilo Lim and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chair Martin Delgra also attended the hearing.

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