JFC wants Duterte to get special powers vs traffic

Traffic in Manila, Philippines (Photo by BLOOMBERG)

Businessmen belonging to the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) asked Congress to enact a measure mandating the grant of emergency powers to President Duterte to solve the traffic crisis.

Members of the JFC said the Senate and House of Representatives should now turn their attention to the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act filed by lawmakers last year.

“The responsible committees in both chambers completed their reports some months ago, and their bills are in line to be discussed and approved in plenary. With the completion of the budget and the first tax-reform package, the time to pass this important legislation is now,” the JFC’s statement read.

Senate Bill (SB) 1284, which was scrutinized by the Public Services Committee, is still at the plenary deliberation stage. At the House of Representatives, the report of the Committee on Transportation on House Bill (HB) 4334 is now up for plenary debates.

The Senate version wants to give “emergency powers” to the President to solve the traffic crisis. The House version calls for the grant of special powers.

The special powers in the House version cover traffic management and the control of road use in areas specified in the proposed measure.

The Senate version triggers the application of laws that are in play in a state of emergency. The coverage is different as well: HB 4334 proposes to cover Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao, which may be expanded by the designated traffic chief.

The Senate bill only applies to Greater Metro Manila and Metro Cebu,  and may be extended to other highly urbanized cities.

Currently, the bicameral conference committee consisting of members from each house of Congress is scrutinizing the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill.

The JFC is composed of American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and South Korean chambers, plus the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.


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