Press Release
October 12, 2016

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's Opening Statement
Public Hearing on Emergency Powers to Solve Traffic Woes

Good morning. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Salamat po sa inyong pagdalo.

This is the fourth joint public hearing of the Committee on Public Services, the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, and the Committee on Finance on the various bills granting the President emergency powers to solve the transportation crisis in urban centers.

This will also be the concluding hearing at the committee level, the last station so to speak before we assemble a bill that we will submit for plenary debates.

This doesn't mean, however, that we have not begun writing the committee report. On the contrary, we have been compiling and crystalizing all your inputs in one legislation. ?So in finding solutions to our traffic problems, we are moving on multiple tracks, and this hearing is just one of them.

There's a parallel track that is in the process of drafting the bill, there's a small group reviewing your proposals, and of course , as we hammer out the shape and contour of the emergency powers bill, the agencies are already implementing some of the solutions. Halimbawa, balita ko may enforcer na rin sa Kalentong at medyo lumuwag na raw ang daanan doon. Yan ay ni-request ko noon sa MMDA Chairman, hindi po kailangan ng emergency powers, ay nagkaroon po ng kaluwagan. Yan po yung Kalentong, dati po kasi madaming nakabalandra diyan pero noong nabanggit natin sa ating huling hearing na nag-request tayo na baka naman pwedeng tutukan, nagkaroon po ng konting kaluwagan, wala pong emergency powers diyan. Ito ay patunay na hindi lahat ng solusyon kailangan ng semento, pero sentido kumon lang. And many of them do not require special powers, just simple willpower of people with the courage to introduce them. So this brings me to the other value of the public hearings we have been calling - that it is to serve as troubleshooting sessions in which solutions can immediately be implemented.??

Dahil alam nga ng ating mga kababayan na meron tayong mga hearing na ganito, ang dami pong nagpapadala ng suhestiyon sa aming komite na marahil hindi naman po nakatugon doon sa ating emergency powers pero dahil nandito na kayong lahat, mahirap din ipunin ang katulad ninyo na marami kayong responsibilidad ay naipapabot namin ng diretso sa inyo at naririnig ng ating mga kababayan.

May nagsabi na legislation is like making a tapestry, and let me tell you that you have provided some of the strongest threads.?? So today let us make the fabric of the law stronger by hearing more views.?? This meeting is called, in part, upon the behest of the minority, and we thank Senator Rector for that. They, too, have a great role to play in weaving that tapestry. And speaking to Senator Recto, he's made very valid points on issues we have not raised in the past hearings that we've had. Hindi po ito para patagalin ang deliberasyon dahil sa lower house, nag-uumpisa pa lang po sila pero habang ginagawa nila yun, tayo naman po ay patuloy sa ating pagdinig at ang committee report ay inuumpisahan na natin. So hindi po ito nagpapabagal, nagpapadagdag lang po ito ng maaaring maging solusyon na epektibo para sa ating mga kababayan.

As a parliamentary tactic, it is better that those across the aisle give their inputs, including their reservations, at the committee level rather than in plenary. If bills were LRT coaches, the committee is the factory floor, where much of the work is done. Most of the time, bills roll out to plenary 95 percent complete, and the plenary is merely where finishing touches are applied.

Mabuti nang agapan ngayon pa lang kung may problema. Second, we will focus on the projects you intend to implement under emergency powers. If, during the last hearings you were given a time limit to present your projects, now, we are giving you as much time for as long as it will clarify the questions that we've been having in our mind. For example is the P219 billion subway project that will only cover 14 kilometers. That amount is already one-fourth of your Php 1.5 trillion wish list. Please explain to us, how this will ease traffic and where at least those areas will be.

Kung yung mga katiting na budget katulad ng State Universities and Colleges at mga ospital ay dumadaan sa butas ng karayom sa pagkilatis, natural yung mga bagay na ganito ay kailanga rin maipakita sa ating mga kababayan kung papaano ito magiging benepisyo para sa kanila...?

When it comes to spending taxpayers money, the rule is that the bigger the expenditure the rigorous the scrutiny must be. If the emergency powers bill is not the magic wand that will make all our problems go away , it is also not a magic password that should allow thieves to just come in and have their day.

I would also like to request you to answer the following questions. And I am very thankful that the secretary of the DPWH, Sec. Villar is present here today.

  • For the DPWH, what are your projects for flooding? Maaaring maayos natin ang mga rota ng mga bus at jeep, pero aanhin natin ito kung mabilis naman bumaha ang kalsada natin? Marami kasing mga flood projects na hindi pa natatapos magmula noong nakaraang administrasyon.

  • How do you envision the Bus Rapid Transport System to work along EDSA? What about the narrow lanes, such as the intersection of Shaw Blvd and EDSA? Nakita naman natin na pagdating ng Shaw at EDSA ay kumikitid na po yan ang kung meron tayong BRP ay isang lane na lang ang matitira sa private vehicles. Papaano po yun? Also, according to some of our resource persons from the transport sector, the world trend is to move out of the rubber-based road surface vehicles, and yet, we are pursuing this by constructing BRT lines. How exactly can this help in easing traffic? Why not build more railroads and procure more trains? This is just a question, you're the expert, please explain to us.

  • On your proposal to construct an Integrated Transport System South Terminal, you indicated PPP funding amounting to 2.2 billion, however, we have also received proposals from the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) and the South Luzon Bus Operators Association (SOLUBOA), who are both willing to construct the North and South Terminals, respectively, for free. Now of course, there will be added cost to the consumers but for the North Terminal project, provincial buses traveling to Central and Northern Luzon have agreed to utilize the PNR Station and property in Meycauayan, Bulacan, situated between the MacArthur Highway and NLEX. All they require is permission from the PNR to use their property for the terminal. SOLUBOA also proposes to construct the South Terminal for free. They are eyeing the PNR property in Calamba. Both terminals will be intermodal, airconditioned, and commuter-friendly.

Ang problema po kasi sa mga terminal na gusto niyong ipatayo ay malaki ang halaga na sinisingil niyo sa mga stakeholders o bus operators. Halimbawa, sa South West Interim terminal, kaya ayaw nilang gamitin iyun ay dahil sinisingil niyo raw sila ng 600 pesos per trip. So please verify, saan nila kukunin yung pambayad doon kung hindi sa mga pasahero rin. Bakit hindi na lang tayo magkaroon ng Stakeholders-Government Partnership Initiatives para makasigurado tayo na dekalidad at mura o walang gastos sa pamahalaan ng mga itatayong imprastraktura. Pwede pa rin ninyo kunin ang Megawide, halimbawa, sila yung gagawa ng lugar na iyon, pero dapat naiintindihan, dapat may inputs talaga ang stakeholders na gagamit niyan. Ilan ba ang bus nila? Ilan ba ang nakaparada doon na kailangan?Perhaps you can convene together with the PNR, these bus associations and discuss their proposals.

  • What are your plans for new railways? Why not go through the regular bidding process for new railways? I understand that you need emergency powers to secure spare parts.Existing na kasi yung rail lines na yun, like the LRT and PNR. Pero pag hindi kasi dumaan sa public bidding ang isang proyekto, ibig sabihin mas "prone" ito sa corruption.

  • What about specific projects? What projects do you have for Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro? Nabanggit ninyo yung rail system doon, saan doon?

  • How is the NLEX-SLEX connector an urgent infrastructure project that will address the traffic crisis, and why has an award notice not been issued yet?

  • We also need to know the right of way issues, have you resolved them? NGCP, I'd like to know the status of that.

  • What is your masterplan on decongesting port areas?

  • There are appears to be some projects that have nothing to do with easing traffic in the country. How will the establishment of a National Emission Testing Center, procurement of license plates, and procurement of projects under the Office of Transportation Security (such as the facial recognition system, etc.) address the traffic crisis? These are important and these need to be addressed immediately but I would think this is connected with what has been tasked for us to do which is to ease traffic.

  • Also, regarding the National Emission Testing Center, I have received word that there was a recent meeting between the LTO and the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA). During this meeting, the IPPCA pledged to undertake the repair of the motor vehicles inspection service facilities for free. Are you considering their offer? And if not, why not?

  • What are your plans on relocating informal settler families? Have you finally coordinated with other government agencies? This was raised by mayor Herbert (Bautista).

  • One of the powers requested under the proposed emergency powers bill is the power to reorganize attached agencies. Have you already identified which agencies will be reorganized and which agencies will have to remove employees due to redundancy? What assurance can you give us that these affected employees will either be transferred to a different department or paid separation incentives?

  • Punta naman po tayo doon sa paglipat ng international flights to Clark. How do you plan to implement this? Have you considered that this might result in additional travel cost to the commuters? You cannot tell me that if they can afford to travel internationally means that they can afford to pay more for travel to the airport. You should include in your proposal information on parking and ride facilities.

Dapat malaman rin ng publiko, who will make an independent assessment on the feasibility of these projects? Do we have the "organic expertise" to render an impartial evaluation? Or are we going to farm-out such an important job to subcontractors who may not have the Republic's interest at heart? Di hamak na napag-uusapan na rin naman ito, let me ask you this: How big is our "technical deficit'? If we need to hire foreign contractors as long as they have the capability and no one else can provide the same quality service in our country.

Third, I also have questions on the North Terminal project, which, although is not part of your proposal under emergency powers, also concerns easing the traffic in Metro Manila. Isa sa mga tanong ko diyan ay bakit iniba ang plano at inilipat ang common station papunta sa Trinoma. May pag-aaral bang ginawa para may compelling reason kayo na ilipat ang common station? Kung totoo ba itong makakaginhawa sa ating mga kababayan, bakit hindi naman pero bigyan natin ng pagkakat mag-eksplika ang mga commuter groups. An internal memo from DOTr planning division chief Joel Magbanua to Usec. For Planning Rene Limcaoco stated that the transfer violated obligations under the MRT-7 contract. Furthermore, the memo pointed out that the transfer would be inconvenient for the 55,000 commuters a day would have to walk a total of 350 meters to transfer from MRT-3 to MRT-7. I know that on September 28, 2016, SM, Ayala and the DOTr signed a memorandum of understanding on the proposed common station. But despite this, have you considered the stakeholders involved? Paano na ang mga, matatanda at persons with disability? Bigyan nyo ako ng kopya ng memorandum of agreement na yan, ano ba talagang nilalaman nun? Baka may mga katanungan pa na baka pang-picture lamang yan at wala naman pala talagang kasunduan pa. Kahit airconditioned pa yung lalakarin nila, kahit may wheelchair pa na available, pasakit pa rin yang paglalakad kung pwede namang mas maiksi.

Nakakausap niyo ba ang mga tao natin sa ibaba. I am referring to our hardworking but unheralded traffic enforcers, who are our boots and eyes on the ground. To say these frontliners are the important cog in any traffic abatement and improvement plan is an understatement. Hindi natin matatahi ang magagndang batas kung hidn natin maririnig ang mga kwento nila.

Fifth, pasadahan din natin sa mga huling pagpupulong yung plano ng ating mga ahensya sa darating na Pasko.?Alam niyo naman po na kapag nasa airwaves na si Gary Valecnciano at Jose Mari Chan, lahat ng ating mga Christmas songs, amoy na ang simoy ng pasko. At kasabay ng pasko ang matinding traffic.???Even if they are tactical in nature, even if they're palliative and temporary, I and the general public for that matter, would like to hear from our guests the traffic plan especially designed and customized for the Christmas season.???Anong bago maliban sa Christmas lanes? Baka pwedeng marinig po natin. Maiibsan ba ang traffic sa paligid ng NAIA? Ang dinig ko kahit meron na tayong airport connector road ay yungmga iba na nagpick up sa NAIA 3 minsan 2 oras naghihintay ng kanilang sundo dahil sa traffic. Yung mga OFWs at mga balikbayan, ilang oras ba ang bubunuin nila bago makalayo o makarating sa ating mga paliparan? Sa himpapawid naman, wala bang traffic sa ere?

These are among the questions I wish to ask. I have more later. Perhaps, the DOTr should focus on projects that will IMMEDIATELY solve traffic. Baka kasi sobrang dami ng gusto ninyong gawin tapos marami sa mga proyektong iyun ay hindi naman talaga makakatulong sa problema. Meron din problema sa C6, ano bang plano parang di naman nabanggit.

With regard to oversight function, Sec. Tugade said in the previous hearing that the oversight committee will have the power not just to review but also to inspect contracts even before they are consummated. That's key at aanhin mo pa ang kontrata kung tapos na. ayaw naman natin na bumabalik tayo sa sinumpang kasunduan.

I respectfully submit that we add in the bill that all contracts should be submitted to the committee for review before they are approved. If, within a certain number of days, let us say, two weeks, the committee fails to approve or disapprove a project, then the project shall be deemed approved.

Nonetheless, sana habang inaantay ninyo ang pagpasa ng emergency powers, unahin niyo na ang pagdidisiplina sa mga motorista at public utility vehicles na pasaway. Apparently, bus and jeepney drivers still pick-up and drop-off passengers in the middle of the road. Motorbike drivers also race against regular vehicles na parang may hinahabol silang meeting parati, siguro meron pero nakakdisgrasya. If you strictly implement traffic rules and regulations, these erring drivers will be compelled to follow road rules and courtesies.

Our office also received a complaint that the CCTV along CP Garcia going to Katipunan has been disconnected since October 5. Please, yung mga CCTV, pakiayos po.

News Latest News Feed