By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte revealed that he would just leave EDSA in its current situation as some lawmakers are not keen on giving him emergency powers to resolve the traffic gridlock in the highway now dreaded by motorists and commuters.
Duterte, in a speech in Malacañang, said that he cannot solve the traffic issue in EDSA with just his words.
“EDSA — sinabi ko sa inyo (I said) I’ll try. So ang hiningi ko noon (So what I asked back then is if), I could be given emergency powers,” he said.
“Itong EDSA, I cannot repair it with saliva. I need to spend. I need to have money,” he added.
Duterte explained that emergency powers would allow him to buy anything without a bidding. He said the same powers were given to former presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino to address energy issues.
However, Duterte said that some members of Congress are not into the idea of giving him emergency powers to resolve the traffic issue in EDSA.
“In the early days of my administration, when it was floated around, I was informed that the most Congress were not — members — ayaw nila kasi malaki daw ‘yung pera, baka mapunta nang (they don’t like the idea as it involves huge sums of money that mat just fall to) graft and corruption,” he said.
Duterte said that the said lawmakers could have asked him personally or his representatives to raise their concerns instead of jumping to conclusion.
“Kaya sabi ko (So I said), ‘It’s okay. I don’t need it,'” Duterte recalled. “Let EDSA remain as it is for the next 20 years. Don’t bother.”
“Rather than you know, casting aspersion, maybe not — maybe me — not siguro ako (maybe not me),” he added.
“But kung ganun ang pagkaintindi ninyo, huwag na (If you think of it that way, then just forget it). What for? There’s always the hanging suspension — suspicion that I am there for the money. Huwag nalang. Hayaan mo. Wala tayong magawa (Then just forget it. We can’t do anything about it),” he continued.
Duterte revealed that there are many proposals to resolve the traffic issue in EDSA but he just doesn’t know if they will ever see the light of day.
“As a matter of fact, there are many proposals. I do not know how, when will they materialize. But ako (me), I just want to finish my term,” he said.
In November last year, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said that the Executive Branch is still hoping that the Congress would grant President Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila.
“‘Yun naman talaga ‘yung original request that came from the Executive Department para mas lalong mapabilis ‘yung pag-solve ng problema natin sa [road] traffic (That is the original request from the Executive Department to resolve the matter faster),” Andanar said over state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
According to Andanar, the traffic situation in the Philippines stemmed from decades of neglect and cannot be solved with one solution alone nor addressed within a single year.
‘We assure you, however, that this problem is being addressed now. This is, in fact, the reason why the Executive Department requested for emergency powers from Congress,” he said.