• Congress to tackle Duterte s emergency powers vs traffic

    In a related development, a House leader is calling on concerned authorities to step up efforts to address the traffic congestion in Metro Manila by clearing major roads and to transferring the bulk of cargo operations from Metro Manila to the Batangas and Subic ports ahead of the Christmas season rush. Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu said authorities should be on guanl as the Christmas rush is expected to worsen traffic congestion in the problem in the National Capital Region (NCRthat is damaging to the country's economy. DOTr on the spot The House panel said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Rigade and heads of the attached agencies will serve as resource persons in the hearing. It added that the scheduled hearing on emergency powers is set on Sept. 15 and Secretary Tugade, along with heads of attached agencies are invited. Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento earlier said committee members approved "in principle" the proposed emergency powers for President Duterte. He said they are ready to grant emergency powers to the Chief Executive to resolve the traffic situation that has turned into a national crisis. He said should they pass the measure, they "will see to it that it will pass the test of constitutionality." Crisis Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap, one of the authors of bill, cited the urgent need for Congress to grant President Duterte emergency powers. "No one is spared from this crisis. The public suffers from the pains of commuting in the grungy Metro Rail systems and public utility vehicles. Problems of this proportion call for drastic solutions because these have already resulted in higher operating cost, lost income opportunities and productivity, higher foreign exchange outflow for fuel and redundant transportation equipment," he said. Yap filed House Bill 38 or the "Metro Manila Traffic and Transport Crisis Act of 2016" seeking the reorganization of the Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways and their attached or related agencies. The 14man Eastern Visayas Bloc of the House of Representatives earlier issued a manifesto endorsing the granting of emergency powers to President Duterte. Alternate ports "There is a Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) study that I support which said that the government should seriously consider shifting international container traffic to Subic Port, as well as Batangas Port to address the problem of traffic congestion in Metro Manila and catalyze growth in outlying regions," Rep. Abu said.* Quoting the study, he said some P17.5 billion was allocated for the development of the Batangas and Subic ports during the term of former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo as shown in a policy paper made by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce in 2014. The Batangas solon also noted some Plll.l billion was also earmarked for the construction of expressways leading to the two ports.