Torrential rains in Metro Manila have forced the cancelation of Sen. Grace Poe’s visit to Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday, preventing her plans to meet with Mindanao transport leaders.
She was set to hold the continuation of the public hearings on the effects of the newly passed tax reform law on public utilities at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP).
“Para sa ating mga kababayan diyan sa Mindanao, humihingi po ako sa inyo ng taos-pusong paumanhin na kami po ay hindi nakalipad kaninang umaga,” Poe said in a video footage addressing the invited resource persons to the public hearing.
“Ang mismong piloto din namin ang nagsabi na mahirap din ang nangyayari sa panahon, na hindi siya masyadong sigurado kung makakabuting magbiyahe kami,” she said.
Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, added, “Ayoko naman pong isugal ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kasama.”
Poe, along with Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, was already waiting as early as 5 a.m. at the hangar in Pasay City on Wednesday, July 18, to take her 6:30 a.m. charter flight.
They were supposed to arrive at 8 a.m., but inclement weather in Manila halted her trip. Sen. JV Ejercito was also supposed to join her in the hearing.
Metro Manila and nearby provinces had been placed on “orange alert,” the second of three-level rainfall warnings by the state weather bureau Wednesday morning, which means intense rains threatened flood-prone areas.
A brewing storm is also threatening Luzon which may bring more rains in the region.
The public hearing, which was converted into an “exploratory meeting” and technical working group in accordance with the Senate rules, discussed relevant issues related to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, as well as on the creation of offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and franchise applications of Mindanao broadcast firms.
“Gayunpaman, I would like to thank those of you who made an effort to be there for this hearing today, especially the ones coming from all over Mindanao and Metro Manila, to be present in this hearing,” Poe said.
“Nandito po kami para tumulong, para masiguro na ang pangakong tulong ng gobyerno, mga fuel vouchers, unconditional cash transfer at mga diskwento sa pamasahe ay maibigay talaga sa inyo,” she said.
Poe added, “Palagi naman akong nasa Cagayan de Oro, kaya pupuntahan ko kayo sa lalong madaling panahon.”
Before the hearing, Poe was scheduled to meet with transport leaders and public utility vehicle drivers at the Agora Market here.
She was set to talk to drivers of motorela, the city’s version of the hybrid jeepney and tricycle, as well as inspect the first ever premium double-decker bus in Mindanao that will ply the Cagayan de Oro-Davao-Bukidnon route.