Speaker: No traffic crisis law before Christmas

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2016 08:40 AM

MANILA – The House of Representatives committee on transportation has suspended deliberations on the proposed Traffic Crisis Act as members wait for position papers to be submitted.

"Iilan na lang position papers ang hinihintay namin. We are again setting a meeting with Senator Grace Poe para mapabilis," panel chairman Cesar Sarmiento said. Poe is handling the Senate version of the bill.

Sarmiento said they are hopeful of the passage of the bill before year-end.

However, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez conceded that the 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, Ted, medyo mahihirapan pa nang 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 puwedeng ibigay natin."

(We will have a hard time getting the emergency powers passed since the DOTr has not been cooperative. They should be able to lay down the emergency powers Congress may be able to give the president.)

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

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

He also emphasized the need to tighten the parameters for negotiated contracts, stating most cases filed against government officials stem from alleged discrepancies in negotiated contracts.