By Marjaleen Ramos
Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said she should not be blamed for the government’s failure to address the crippling traffic in EDSA.
“First, the name calling, if it’s me, well, most likely, it is. The president’s mind is a mystery to me. Just a few months ago, he called me a fine, courteous lady, which is the exact opposite of being impertinent or “atribida”,” Poe said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously expressed dismay with an “atribida” lady politician who blocked his plea for emergency powers over her concerns on possible corruption behind the move.
“It doesn’t really affect me at this point. Because I cannot get distracted on what I have to do,” she said.
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, also added that she should not be blamed for the delay in granting the proposed emergency powers to the President because the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has yet to submit a traffic plan.
“I am not the one in the driver’s seat. Number one, when it comes to traffic, it’s an administration issue, not a legislation one. He has the power to consolidate cabinet members that have to do with traffic. The DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority)’s cabinet rank, as well as the DOTr.”
“They could have huddled over a traffic plan. That’s all I’ve been asking for, a traffic plan and a transportation plan, which they did not submit,” Poe added.
Duterte, along with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, had earlier called for emergency powers to address traffic congestion in the metropolis.
“Now, if they said: ‘We did submit a list of projects for emergency powers,’ Yes, they did… it included setting up fences in Subic, facial recognition software for their employees. What does that have to do with the congestion?” Poe said.
“There are already remedial laws in place. All they have to do was utilize it. Even the Supreme Court has issued several laws that will actually help them,” she added.
The Agence France-Presse earlier reported that many patients have died while being transported in an ambulance because of the traffic jams in Metro Manila.