'Uncooperative' DoTr delays passage of emergency powers, says Speaker

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2016 01:59 PM

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez concedes passage of the proposed emergency powers to address traffic congestion may be delayed because of an uncooperative transportation department.

The bill has been touted as the panacea to the country's traffic woes.

Alvarez has been critical of the performance of the Department of Transportation (DoTr), which he once headed during the Arroyo administration.

The House Transportation Committee is now considering a counter proposal to the emergency powers proposal of the administration, which is contained in a new bill now known as the proposed "Traffic Crisis Act".

Speaking to DZMM, Alvarez said, "Yung emergency powers, medyo mahihirapan pa ng kaunti yun dahil nga hindi naman naging cooperative yung DOTr, kailangan nating mailatag nila kung ano ang gagawin nila para alam naman ng Kongreso kung ano ang emergency powers ang pwedeng ibigay natin. 

"In fact, ako yung principal author ng bill na iyan, ngunit hindi naman pupuwede na bigyan natin sila ng blanket authority na emergency powers nang hindi natin inaalam kung ano ba ang plano. Kasi kung walang plano, paano iyan? Bigyan mo ng emergency power ng dalawang taon iyan, tapos pagka natapos yung dalawang taon, sasabihin, teka muna, i-extend natin dahil hindi pa kami tapos mag-isip kung ano ang gagawin namin."

Alvarez doesn’t see the proposed bill becoming law by Christmas time because they do not want to approve a blanket authority for the executive. 

"You want to address yung traffic problems natin, ano ba yung mga iniisip niyong gawin? Ayun, tapos yung mga right of way, ilalagay natin iyan, yung power to shut down a previous contract, ilagay natin iyan. Pero yung mga legislative contracts na iyan, medyo delikado tayo diyan. Lahat naman kasi… hindi naman, it will not take much of our time kung halimbawa we will just follow the process di ba? Publication, tapos sandali lang yun, and then bidding. Mabilis lang naman iyan, hindi naman kailangan ng negotiated contracts siguro doon."

Alvarez also seemed to reject the proposal to relax the procurement law when it comes to big ticket transport projects. 

“Mabigat yun, kasi pag hindi… paano iyan, kahit anong ano, under the guise of procurement law na ma-cover niya yung negotiated contracts, paano yung award noong mga flagship projects? Malalaki yun," he said.

Alvarez pointed out the need to tighten the parameters for negotiated contracts. "Naging DOTC secretary din ako, iyan naman may reklamo kapag halimbawa medyo pinaboran mo yung isa. Pero kung strictly you follow yung terms of reference, mahirap magdemanda. Kahit ikaw yung losing bidder, kung talagang sinunod mo yung terms of reference, medyo gagastos ka ng malaki para maisampa mo yung kaso."

On the other hand, the House Leader repeated that the debates on the proposed death penalty bill may be finished at the House by Christmas, while the proposed 2017 budget is expected to be passed before Congress goes on its Christmas vacation.