Gatchalian favors clear emergency powers to address transport crises

THE emergency powers being sought by the next administration to solve the traffic woes in Metro Manila and nearby provinces should be well scrutinized by Congress.

Thus said by neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian as he explained that the extra powers that Congress will grant must be well defined accordingly to avoid future problems.

In a press conference, Gatchalian said the giving of the emergency powers must not only be focused on traffic problems but also on the protection of the public and promote their welfare.

"Is their plan really worthy that the law will be bent for the sake of solving the traffic mess? Because a band aid solution is not really a solution. We have to learn from the past. We have to know the long term strategy," Gatchalian told reporters on Tuesday.

Gatchalian said that Congress must be the one to declare whether there is really a crisis because the granting of emergency powers to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte that may last up to two years.

In granting the emergency powers, Gatchalian said there should be a specific definition and limit as well as a strong system of accountability.

The senator said that although he agreed that this matter should be considered a major concern, the rights of every citizen must also be protected and respected.

He also agreed that the nation faces a transportation crisis, which needs urgent action and solutions.

"The next administration should also give us an idea what technology they will use, the details of their strategy and how they will deal with problems like the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and the MRT (Metro Rail Transit)," Gatchalian said.

He also proposed that the next administration consider basic elements that affect the traffic specifically in Metro Manila like the sidewalks. The possible expansion of the LRT and MRT and how they will deal with buses plying in all parts of Metro Manila.

Gatchalian noted that the country's transportation infrastructure has been unable to keep up with the rising demand.

"Main thrust I think is makumbinse natin ang ating mga kababayan na sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan, which I think will really help ease the traffic in Manila," Gatchalian said.

It was reported that incoming transportation secretary Arthur Tugade urged the need for Congress to grant Duterte extraordinary powers that will allow him to implement bold solutions to transport crisis.

The extent of the powers will depend on the measure to be passed by Congress but Tugade said the next government may be allowed to open private subdivisions to traffic.

Tugade claimed that the traffic problem remains unresolved because of restraining orders, injunctions, right of way issues, local government regulations and even social issues.

Tugade added that the emergency powers would also provide the government option to skirt bidding to solve traffic and other transportation problems like the non-delivery of vehicle plates. He did not elaborate, saying details would be threshed out in Congress. (Sunnex)


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