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Salceda files bill giving Duterte emergency powers to hasten Build, Build, Build

A measure has been filed at the House of Representatives seeking to grant special powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to adopt a national policy to fast-track the implementation of the "Build, Build, Build" program before he steps down in 2022.

In House Bill 5456, filed by Albay Representative Joey Salceda, Duterte is given the authority to exercise all powers needed to carry out a national policy to implement the government's infrastructure program.

"As such, the President is hereby granted Special Powers to urgently utilize all necessary government resources, exercise police power, and employ executive actions and measures to ensure the effective implementation, reconfiguration, and harmonization of national and local government projects intended to address the economic growth, unhampered by existing laws, agreements, regulations, court orders, and procedures that would cause delay in addressing exclusively the implementation of flagship projects," the bill read.

The measure was filed after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" program is a "dismal failure" after learning that only nine of the 75 flagship programs have started construction.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, dismissed Drilon's claim as "baseless," saying that projects such as the MRT3 rehabilitation, Metro Manila subway, Subic-Clark railway, and Mindanao railway are at various stages of development.

The special power sought for Duterte is granted exclusively for projects related to transport and mobility, water, urban development and renewal, information and communications technology, and power. 

Along with this power, Duterte is also given the authority to reorganize and rationalize the structure of his office as needed within six months from the enactment of the bill to ensure the effective implementation of the projects.

The chairman of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, meanwhile, is designated as the Flagship Program Manager which will supervise the implementation of the "Build, Build, Build" program.

The Flagship Program Manager is tasked to exercise all powers and authority delegated by the President to mobilize resources of the various government agencies for the effective and expeditious implementation of the program.

He or she is also authorized to adopt direct contracting, repeat order, and direct negotiation of contracts as modes of procurement for goods, infrastructure, and consulting services for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of projects under the "Build, Build, Build" program. —NB, GMA News