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Emergency powers for DoTr rejected

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has turned down the grant of emergency powers to the Department of Transportation as he chided officials of serving interests of former employers.

This developed as House Assistant Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, together with Reps. Mikee Romero (1-PACMAN party-list), Eugene de Vera (ABS party-list), and Winston Castelo (LP, Quezon City), dared Cabinet officials and other presidential appointees to voluntarily impose upon themselves a vow not to return to their former employers as consultants or executives for a period of five years.

Alvarez, a former DOTr secretary, questioned certain department officials for lackluster performance and possible vested interests of some of its officials.

During the congressional hearing for DOTr’s proposed R55.4-billion budget for 2017, Alvarez warned transportation officials not to serve the interest of big corporations where they were previously employed or have ties with.

“It cannot be that we’d allow blanket emergency powers. We have to identify which areas will need emergency powers. It cannot be a blanket coverage,” the House leader said.

“I’m not satisfied with their performance so far. They are in their first 100 days and we should be experiencing changes already. They should have done this yesterday,” Alvarez added.

Alvarez grilled Transportation Undersecretary for Railway Noel Kintanar, who previously served as assistant vice president of Ayala Corp.; Undersecretary for Air Operations Bobby Lim, who was formerly country manager of the International Air Transport Association; and Undersecretary for Land Transport Anneli Lontoc.

“Let us not fool ourselves. In every administration, private corporations put their people in departments covering their business. Whose interests are you serving?” the House official said.

Alvarez also chided the perceived underperformance of some of the DoTr undersecretaries. In particular, he scored Lim for visiting only one airport – Davao airport – out of the country’s 80 airports in the more than two months he has been in office. (Ben R. Rosario)