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Too late the hero! Palace rejects Salceda’s proposal for special powers to fast-track ‘Build, Build, Build’

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Malacañang is not keen on supporting the bill filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, which would grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the administration’s Build, Build, Build program.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the passage of Salceda’s House Bill 5456 is “no longer a priority” given that the President is more than halfway through his term.

“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,” Panelo said in a statement Saturday (November 16).

Salceda’s bill would’ve allowed Duterte to use all necessary government resources and exercise police power to fast-track the implementation of the administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.

HB 5456 also sought to prohibit courts, with the exception of the Supreme Court, to issue temporary restraining orders that would stop the infrastructure projects.

Panelo said Duterte will instead maximize options available to him under existing laws. He noted that the State has the power of eminent domain, which allws the government to expropriate or initiate proceedings 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,” Panelo said.

The administration recently released a revised list of “Build, Build, Build” projects, inflating the list of projects to 100 from the original 75.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, however, called the program a “dismal failure” as only nine out of the original 75 projects are halfway through construction three years into Duterte’s term.

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