Press Release
September 18, 2016


Sen. Grace Poe said today that emergency powers will only be used to untie the traffic gridlock crippling Metro Manila and other urban areas, assuring that enough safeguards will be in place to prevent possible abuses.

Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services tackling the proposed emergency powers seeking to address the traffic crisis, stressed such when asked about its necessary limits in the light of the Duterte administration's current undertakings.

"Malinaw sa akin ang saklaw nito ay solusyon sa trapiko. At sabi ko nga, tututukan iyan ng bantay na kasama sa oversight. Sa tingin ko we have enough safeguards," the senator said.

"Kampi ako sa ating mga kababayan na dapat solusyunan na agad ang problema sa trapiko. Hindi ako papayag na abusuhin ang emergency powers," Poe added, assuring proposals in solving traffic woes will be put into closer scrutiny by the Senate.

Poe said contracts and transactions entered into by government must be transparent.

"Kapag nakita nating hindi naayon ang kanilang ginagawa, pwede nating suspindihin ang emergency powers na yan," the senator said, "Sabi ko nga lahat naman tayo ay nagmamadali na ukol dito pero ipakita nila na hindi aabusuhin at sila ay seryoso."

The Senate is set to resume its hearing on Sept. 22 on the emergency powers sought by the administration to resolve the transportation crisis.

Local government units and various transport agencies involved in traffic management will be invited in the hearing, Poe said.

The proposed emergency powers bill seeks to address the traffic crisis by expediting procurement processes for transportation projects and establishing a single traffic authority, among others.

The expected duration of the emergency powers that may be granted to the President could be for a period of at least two years, depending on the plans and programs needed to be carried out to address the traffic mess, unless sooner withdrawn by congress.

A congressional oversight committee will be established to be composed of five members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Poe has earlier said that any extra powers to be granted to the administration shall be FOI (Freedom of Information)-compliant, fiscally responsible and well-defined with deadlines.

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