Special powers for BBB program, no longer a priority of Duterte – Panelo

Maris Federez   •   November 17, 2019   •   468

(L-R) Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has turned down the bill that will give the president special powers to hasten the Build, Build, Build Program.

House Bill No. 5456, filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, seeks to grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the Build-Build-Build program before he steps down in 2022.

“While we respect the wisdom of Congress and laud the gentleman from Albay in seeing the importance of this flagship infrastructure program of the current government, we consider this proposed measure belated and no longer a priority legislative agenda of the President, given that we only have less than three years left in office,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement released on Saturday (November 16).

“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo added.

He further noted that “one of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings, therefore, to acquire private property for public use. This power is particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure. The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process.”

The statement also reads that “the Build-Build-Build program is now rolling with 35 ongoing constructions; 32 projects about to commence construction within 6-8 months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.”

Panelo added that the administration expects 38 projects to be completed by 2022 and 22 will be partially operational or at substantial completion.

He further said that while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this administration. /mbmf

Duterte assures stronger gov’t response to COVID-19 crisis with new special powers

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed gratitude to Congress for granting the Executive branch special powers to strengthen the national government’s response to the current crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday (March 23), President Duterte signed into law the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act which will grant him authority to reallocate government savings to programs related to combating COVID-19.

“To the members of both houses of Congress who sponsored and voted for this measure, I express my sincerest gratitude to all of you for granting our most urgent requests,” the President said.

“Finally, the Executive Department can move, decide and act freely for the best interest of the Filipino people during this health crisis,” he added.

Under the new measure, the national government will allocate emergency monthly subsidy for the 18 million informal sector families in the country on the duration of the crisis.

Likewise, there will be ‘COVID-19 special risk allowance’ for all public health workers on top of their hazard duty pay, compensation for public and private health workers who contacted the disease while on duty, and for the relatives of health workers who died of COVID-19.

“Supplies of food, water and other essentials will be provided to you throughout this ordeal,” the Chief Executive stressed.

“Financial assistance will also be extended especially to those in the margins and the vulnerable groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, concerned agencies like the Health, National Defense, the Interior and Local Government and the Social Welfare and Development Departments are directed to collaborate for the implementation of the government’s national action plan against COVID-19.

Thus, the Chief Executive called for cooperation from all government employees on the matter.

“To my fellow public servants, let us set aside our differences and work in solidarity to overcome this pandemic. We only have one common enemy and that is COVID-19,” the President appealed.

“Our transparency, integrity, accountability and responsiveness are needed and I expect all of you to exercise all these in safeguarding our fellow Filipinos,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte vows to help Cebu build new infrastructures amid traffic woes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to help Cebu City build new infrastructures amid the severe traffic problem experienced in the city.

During his speech on Sunday (January 19), Duterte said that Cebu should focus on building a mass transportation system such as railway system.

“If you could make it a mass transportation, that would be better. Only few will be able to do that. But it’s either train or skyways. Let’s opt for elevated highways,” he said.

“The only way to do it is by utilizing a small commuter train and more highways. I will help you secure a loan for that,” he added.

The chief executive also said said he wants similar projects be constructed in Cebu. He reiterated that he does not want any project left unfinished —AAC

Claim that Build, Build, Build program is a failure: Fake news – Cayetano

Maris Federez   •   November 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano called out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for his statement that the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program was a “dismal failure”.

Cayetano said Drilon’s claim was fake news, pointing out that the Duterte Administration has implemented more infrastructure projects than the past administrations.

“Sa budget pa lang makikita mo na yun. Sa sincerity andiyan din. It’s being done not just for politics but to give people. A safe and comfortable life. Ang tiningnan lang ng senado iyong flagship programs alone and then tiningnan lang nila ano iyong naumpisahan ano iyong hindi,” Cayetano said. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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