Monday, December 18, 2017
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Emergency powers to tackle traffic pushed

Foreign investors urge Congress to speed up passage of necessary bill

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines urged Congress to pass a final bill that would give President Duterte emergency powers to manage the urban traffic crisis, which has gone worse due to the “worsening congestion we experience daily during this Christmas” season.

The coalition of various foreign business chambers in the country wanted President Duterte to certify the legislation as “urgent” in order to speed up the rather slow pace in the legislative mill.

There are a number of traffic crisis bills filed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. When asked if they supported a specific bill, John Forbes, a senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), said that they would back the final bill that would recognize both road and air traffic congestion.

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“The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines urge the Congress to complete plenary consideration of the traffic and congestion crisis legislation,” the groups said.

Earlier this year, lawmakers and government officials have been mulling over the possibility of giving emergency powers to President Duterte in order to address the country’s urban traffic woes, which may be at its worst in Metro Manila.

Worsening traffic has been a constant concern for commuters and business alike, an issue which Mr. Duterte promised to solve within six months in office during his presidential electoral campaign. Up to now, however, the problem still persists and appears to have even worsened.

“We are continually reminded of the very difficult traffic situation by the worsening congestion we experience daily during this Christmas month of December,” JFC said, citing a recent study commissioned by ride-sharing company Uber that further echoes the poor traffic conditions in Manila.

“Thus, we urge Congress to complete its legislative procedures and approve the legislation on second and third reading at the earliest possible date, and recommend the President to certify the measure as urgent to also speed up its passage,” the statement read.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc (Pamuri). It represents over 3,000 member companies in the Philippines, with over P130 billion worth of trade and investments in the country.

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TAGS: Christmas season, congestion, emergency powers, Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), urban traffic crisis
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