MANILA - The House Committee on Transportation technical working group will start working on a substitute bill granting President Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic crisis in the country.
House Committee on Transportation Chair Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento said the technical working group will have an easier task because the committee has narrowed down the scope of the proposed law to certain metropolitan areas such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao.
"While we have limited the scope of the bill to land transportation, this does not mean that the other sectors have no issues. They may not be under a traffic or congestion crisis but there is much to be improved in our maritime and aviation sectors," Sarmiento said.
At present, there are 10 bills pending at the committee seeking to grant emergency powers to the President.
The committee also aims to deal with the effects of implementing the emergency powers bill on families and businesses that depend on the transport industry for their livelihood.
The panel will also focus on the implementation of decongestion programs, and will ensure coordination of inter-agency offices and local government units on this matter.
The working group is also expected to discuss the Department of Transportation's proposed funding requirement, as well as the agency’s projected timeline for the implementation of programs and projects they want included in the proposed traffic crisis bill.
Sarmiento also noted that the effects of the new traffic schemes such as the "No Window Policy," are felt by motorists and commuters which can be seen on social media posts.
"We have pointed this out to the DOTr and its attached agencies. There are immediate solutions that only need brain power and political will, like prudent law enforcement," Sarmiento said.
The emergency powers proposal has been included in the legislative agenda of Hosue Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Pantaleon said their proposal to grant President Duterte emergency powers is pursuant to Article 6, Section 23 (2) of the 1987 Constitution.
House Bill 3 seeks to authorize the President to exercise emergency powers necessary and proper to effectively respond to the multiple problems caused by the paralyzing traffic problem in the country.
A 2014 report of the Japan International Cooperation Agency shows that the country loses P2.4 billion a day due to traffic congestion problems.