Senate panel to reopen hearing on emergency powers

October 5, 2016 10:30 am 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Oct. 4 (PNA) — A Senate panel decided Tuesday to reopen the public hearings on the proposed emergency powers to deal with the country's traffic woes that winded up last Sept. 22, at the request of a senator.

Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee on public services, said the hearing will resume on Oct. 12 to further clarify the government’s plan to implement critical transportation projects.

“In the interest of transparency, and as requested by the Minority Leader (Senator Ralph Recto), we will be conducting a fourth hearing to give the DOTr (Department of Transportation) an opportunity to present in detail how they plan to implement certain projects and an opportunity to explain why some of their projects, which apparently have nothing to do with traffic decongestion, are included in their proposals,” Poe said at the European Union (EU)-Philippines Business Summit transport forum organized by the EU and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Poe explained that the panel wants the transportation department to shed light on two proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) system projects, one from Manila City Hall to Quezon City, and another from EDSA to Ayala and Ortigas to NAIA.

She said this is expected to cost about PHP44.23 billion and will be implemented in three years with the extra powers.

The senator said that the panel will also seek clarification on why the proposed list of port projects submitted by the DOTr to the Senate only included Manila ports but not the Subic and Batangas ports.

In a previous interview, Poe said all that is left to do is to chart the remaining course so a committee report could be finished on schedule and endorsed for plenary debate.

She said there will be about three technical working group (TWG) meetings to draft a committee report on the emergency powers bill and specify locations of the projects.

She also remained hopeful that the law being crafted to grant special emergency powers would be completed before Christmas.

Expected to attend the fourth hearing are cabinet members led by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Thomas Orbos. (PNA)

CVL/ANP

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