Duterte to seek emergency powers for traffic crisis

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2016 01:25 PM | Updated as of Jun 20 2016 03:47 PM

ABS-CBN News.

DAVAO CITY - President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will ask Congress to grant him sweeping authority to solve traffic congestion in the capital that has deteriorated into a crisis, his incoming transportation secretary said Monday.

Proposed emergency powers include favoring direct contracting over public biddings for transportation-related projects, opening private subdivision roads to traffic, and removing transport terminals and public markets located on busy highways, Arthur Tugade told reporters.

Traffic jams have become a daily misery in the Philippine capital of 12 million people with its flood-prone roads and rundown trains. Duterte had described Metro Manila as a "dead city."

Tugade cited a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency which said the country loses P2.4 billion daily due to traffic.

"If this is not a crisis what is? Yung quality of life natin nabababoy na. Mas madami na tayong ginagastos na oras sa kalsada," Tugade said.

The emergency powers will be effective for as long as two years, he said.

"Kailangan lahat tayo handang makurot. Kailangan lahat tayo handang magsakripisyo," he said.

Tugade said the emergency powers would have safeguards against abuse.

"It will not be an absolute grant of power. It will not be whimsical. It will not be confiscatory," he said.