House Ways and Means Committee Chair Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has urged his colleagues in the Lower House to give President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. special powers that would allow him to manage the economy with speed amid a raging inflation.
Salceda has submitted a proposal for a Bayan Bangon Muli (BBM) package that integrates a significant number of special powers to curtail price increases – short of price controls, which would be more harmful than do any good for supply stability — to Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the presumptive House Speaker of the 19th Congress.
The proposed BBM bill package, which would be in effect for 18 months when enacted, would include the following special powers: 1) 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;
2) Power to provide loans and guarantees for suppliers of essential goods; 3) 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” prices;
4) Motu proprio powers to investigate perceived market abuse in the energy and essential goods sectors; 5) 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;” and
6) Power to mobilize uniformed personnel to expedite programs and projects which allow Marcos to tap the uniformed services to hasten the construction of infrastructure projects or ease transportation bottlenecks.
Salceda said there is a need to integrate “agriculture and food security in government training programs, expand DA farmer assistance programs, and mechanisms to manage food surpluses” to avoid wastage.
“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 the now-useless 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,” Salceda added.
Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the country’s headline inflation rate in June 2022 was at 6.1 percent — a three-year high since November 2018’s 6.1% and October 2018’s 6.9%.
PSA said a spike drove the higher inflation rates in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased from 4.9% in May 2022 to 6.0% in June 2022.