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

Maris Federez
(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

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