REP. Benhur Salimbangon and 10 other congressmen have filed a bill granting emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the traffic congestion in Cebu and the rest of the country.
Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) said they expect Malacañang to certify House Bill (HB) 3 as urgent because the traffic in the country “has assumed the nature and magnitude of a national emergency.”
The massive traffic, he said, has resulted in economic losses amounting to billions of pesos, including business losses and income losses for ordinary Filipinos.
If Congress passes it into law, it will declare a national policy to address traffic and authorize President Duterte to implement rules and regulations needed to carry out such powers.
Salimbangon said the authority will be bound by time and restrictions.
HB 3 is authored by Salimbangon, Rodolfo Farinas (Ilocos Norte), Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur), Michael John Duavit (Rizal), Carlos Cojuangco (Tarlac), Elisa Kho (Masbate), Raneu Abu (Batangas), Danilo Suarez (Quezon), Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol party-list), Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao City) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao del Sur).
Earlier, Duterte said some transportation projects that can solve the traffic problem must be implemented immediately and need not be bid out as ordinarily required.
Duterte had told journalists that if he is given the emergency powers to implement such projects without any bidding, he will make sure that there will be no anomaly or corruption in the implementation of the projects.
Salimbangon said Duterte’s emergency powers will benefit Cebu, particularly the cities that are mired in traffic.
He said that a vehicle running at 70 kilometers per hour can make it from Cebu City to Medellin town in one-and-a-half hour.
However, because of the heavy traffic, the travel time is usually two to three hours.