President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he wants to concentrate on projects that can be completed in the two years left in his term—such as flyovers.
In a speech in Cebu City during the Sinulog festivities, Duterte urged the city to build more flyovers to deal with its transportation problems, as he said he is already doing in Metro Manila.
"Build more flyovers. You don’t have enough space here. You would just keep on fighting and arguing with each other on where to pass because the roads are very small because Cebu is an old city," he said in a mixture of Cebuano and English that was translated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Duterte said that his administration had been planning to use "new technology" to ease EDSA's congestion and that his staff was going to ask for emergency powers, but a "lady senator" objected.
"She said we’ll be getting a huge sum of money if we had emergency powers, and it might lead to corruption. But I didn’t sulk about it. I just said, 'Okay, if you don’t trust me, it’s okay.' I said, 'Never mind.' That is why I focused on building flyovers," he said.
Duterte was referring to Senator Grace Poe, who in 2016 cautioned against the abuse of emergency powers.
"Giving the president emergency powers necessarily raises concerns about concentration of powers to one person as these could easily be abused," she said at the time.
"They will have to explain exactly how the emergency powers will speed up efforts to solve traffic," Poe also said last year.
Duterte said that the government is building flyovers in Metro Manila that will be completed by December this year.
"In Manila, we have focused on building flyovers which are now nearing completion. Probably around Decem—everything will be finished before December this year. I told them that just like what I intend to do in Cebu, I do not want any projects left unfinished. And if they gave me emergency powers now, even if there’s no corruption involved, the project in EDSA will not be completed in the two years left in my term," he said.
"I could not finish even a third of what I intend to do and I do not want to go out of the presidency with projects left unfinished. If I start with some projects now, I will not be able to complete that in two years. People will say, look at Duterte, he ended his term, he had a lot of money in his hands, look at his projects, they were left unfinished because the money was squandered, he pocketed the…" he said.
Duterte earlier this month said that he does not want his administration to pursue any projects that cannot be completed during his term. — BM, GMA News