MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday told the Department of Transportation not to rely emergency powers in addressing woes on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
Speaking at the Senate inquiry into the provincial bus ban, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade underscored the need for granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila.
“Kung napagbigyan lang sana ng emergency power noon, dapat ngayon nirerepaso na natin ‘yung nagawa kung napagbigyan,” Tugade told the Senate panel.
(If the emergency power was granted back then, we should now be reviewing what was done if it was given.)
Tugade said granting emergency power to address traffic woes would fast track the process of procurement and would allow the government to implement high-priority projects.
Poe, on the other hand, said the emergency power could or could not have addressed the issue.
The senator, who has been heading Senate hearings on emergency powers sought by Malacañang since 2016, pointed out that the DOTr was still able to procure new equipment even without emergency powers.
“‘Yung sinasabi ninyong maaring naibsan na ang sitwasyon ng traffic kung saka-sakaling emergency powers, sabi ko nga marahil, pero may mga bagay rin na hindi kailangan na sana naayos na rin ninyo,” Poe told Tugade.
(What you are saying that the situation of traffic might have been reduced if there were emergency powers, I said maybe, but there could have been things that did not require such for you to fix.)
Poe cited the MRT-3 as an example, pointing out that China-made Dalian coaches are still not operational three years after its delivery to the country.
‘Wag n’yo naman sisihin na dahil nga wala ‘yung emergency powers hindi nagagawa ‘yung mga bagay na naniniwala kayo. Alam ninyo hindi kailangan ng emergency powers para ayusin ‘yan ‘di ba,” Poe said.
(Don’t blame the lack of emergecy powers for not completing your projects. You know that you don’t need emergency powers to fix that.)
According to Transport Undersecretary Timothy John Batan, the government suspended the operations of 48 coaches or 16 four-car trains from China as Japanese maintenance provider Sumitomo is still studying the trains’ maintenance requirements.
Tugade, however, clarified that three Dalian trains are ready for operation but they would have to run 1,000 kilometers first before being certified for use.
Defending his agency, Tugade said the DOTr is not saying that it needs emergency powers to address MRT-3 issues. He added that his agency had addressed the MRT-3 without invoking emergency power.
The DOTr chief stressed that the discussion on emergency powers to solve traffic woes in Metro Manila also covers the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2, the Metro Manila Subway project, the LRT-2 Masinag extension project and others.
— Patricia Lourdes Viray
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Poe tells Tugade: Emergency powers not needed to address MRT-3