MANILA - Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez on Tuesday said he is open to the idea of granting emergency powers to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to solve traffic and infrastructure problems in the country.
Speaking on ANC's "Beyond Politics," Alvarez, who was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's transportation and communications secretary, admitted that the traffic situation in Metro Manila is worsening.
"It is already a crisis. It is not just an ordinary problem," he said.
Asked if there is a plan to grant emergency powers to address the transportation crisis, Alvarez minced no words in expressing support.
"Whatever it takes to address quickly the problem," he answered.
According to Alvarez, the incoming legislature is open to accommodate the needs of the executive department.
"Well, kami naman it depends on what the executive department needs," Alvarez said.
Earlier, a business group expressed support for emergency powers for Duterte amid traffic and infrastructure woes.
"We have to be pragmatic. We have to be realistic, and we have to support emergency powers," said Eduardo Yap, member of the board of governors of the Management Association of the Philippines.
However, Yap clarified that the grant of emergency powers must be for a limited time only.
"The way I look at it, not more than two years," Yap said.
'PRONE TO ABUSE'
However, others disagree with the idea.
A commuters' advocacy group said the emergency powers planned to be granted to the president-elect is susceptible to abuse by those in the incoming president's circle.
"Mahirap dahil posibleng may mga nakapaligid sa presidente na nasa industriya at makikinabang," said Elvira Medina, president of National Council for Commuters' Safety and Protection.
Instead, Medina suggested that the cargo trains of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) be revived.
"Ang pumalit sa PNR cargo, mga container van. 'Yan ang problema," she said.
The sentiment against the grant of emergency powers to Duterte was echoed by outgoing Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares.
According to Colmenares, emergency powers will only give birth to other potential problems.
He also said the traffic situation is not too big of a problem that warrants the use of emergency powers.
"You are creating a lot of problems pa with this solution... Traffic problem lang, mag-eemergency powers ka pa? Parang fail ka," he said.