Solon suggests giving Marcos special powers amid high inflation rates
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has suggested providing newly-inaugurated President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. with certain special powers that would allow him to manage the economy amid skyrocketing inflation rates.
According to Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, he has submitted to Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez — whom many believe will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives — a package that would integrate a set of special powers amid rising prices.
“I have already submitted to the incoming Speaker, Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, a proposal for a Bayan Bangon Muli package that integrates a significant number of special powers to curtail price increases (short of price controls, which would of course be more harmful than do any good for supply stability),” Salceda said in a statement on Tuesday.
Among the powers that are included in the said Bayan Bangon Muli package, which would be contained in a bill, are the following:
- Anti-hoarding powers where no person will be allowed to accumulate materials designated by Marcos as scarce materials “in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, goods or services.”
- Powers to incentivize production which allows Marcos to give appropriate incentives to develop, maintain, modernize, restore, and expand the productive capacities of domestic sources.
- Powers to provide loans and guarantees for suppliers of essential goods.
- Anti-price-gouging powers which is not a price cap, but one that allows Marcos to stop the sale of goods at an “unconscionably excessive” price.
- Motu proprio powers to investigate for possible market abuse in the energy and essential goods sectors.
- Transport emergency powers to let Marcos allow the use of “private roads, expedite public projects, conduct alternative. working arrangements, and temporarily control facilities around ports and airports to address supply bottlenecks.”
- Power to mobilize uniformed personnel to expedite programs and projects which allows Marcos to tap the uniformed services to hasten the construction of infrastructure projects or ease transportation bottlenecks.
Salceda also suggested integrating “agriculture and food security in government training programs, expanding DA farmer assistance programs, and mechanisms to manage food surpluses” to avoid wastage.
The President’s special powers would be in effect for 18 months if enacted.
“I have also proposed means to expand supply through MSME assistance. We hope to make it easier for MSMEs supplying critical goods to register and [set up] shop by reducing documentary and administrative requirements, most irritatingly including now-useless requirements such as the cedula,” he said.
“During the effectivity of the proposal (18 months), PBBM may also require a minimum petroleum inventory and have petroleum companies explain significant price changes,” he added.
Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that the country’s headline inflation rate in June 2022 was at 6.1 percent — a three-year high since November 2018’s 6.1 percent and October 2018’s 6.9 percent.
PSA said that a spike drove the higher inflation rates in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased from 4.9 percent in May 2022 to 6.0 percent in June 2022.
Transportation costs meanwhile rose from 14.6 percent in May 2022 to 17.1 percent in June.
June 2022’s inflation rate was higher than the 5.4 percent recorded in May 2022.
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