SEN. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. issued several statements on Thursday praising the police for a major drug bust and poked trade officials for a disjoint in prices of basic goods.
Marcos also said he favors reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) but with conditions.
In separate statements, Marcos said that if the BNPP will be revived and operated, it should be cost effective, the cost of power must be reduced, power supply will stabilize and it will not contribute to the destruction of the environment.
Marcos aired his stance on the mothballed power plant in reply to a question of a student during the “Engineering Seminar and Forum” held on January 12 at the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) in Santa Cruz, Laguna, where he was guest of honor and speaker.
“Kung cost-effective pa, bakit hindi natin balikan at paandarin ang BNPP [and] immediately, mayroon agad tayong 650 megawatts,” he was quoted in a statement as saying.
“The government should seriously study and find out whether reviving the BNPP is economically operational because it is still technically feasible.”
Meanwhile, Marcos called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to explain why the prices of basic commodities remain high despite the big rollback in the prices of petroleum products.
Marcos made the statement after the latest Pulse Asia survey showed that inflation remains to be the top concern and the most urgent national issue for majority of Filipinos spanning all socioeconomic groups.
“Just last Monday, oil companies announced another round of an oil price rollback, which put diesel prices in the range between P20.40 and P23.80 per liter, while gasoline prices ranged from P33.30 to P40.75 per liter.”
In January 2014, based on the Energy Department’s price monitoring report, retail prices of petroleum products ranged highest from P50.30 per liter to P55.45 per liter for gasoline and P42.10 per liter to P46.50 per liter for diesel.
“There is a tremendously huge decrease in the prices of oil, especially diesel which affects the transportation and production costs of many of the manufacturing and retail sectors, but we have yet to see a substantial reduction in the prices of commodities. The DTI should look at this and explain to us.”
Marcos cited data from the National Statistics Authority (NSA) that showed food inflation or the cost of food in the Philippines increased by 1.70 percent in December 2015 “over the same month in the previous year.”
Consumer price index in the country increased to 142.60 index points in December from 142.30 index points in November 2015, according to Marcos, citing NSA data.
Marcos asserted that “despite the imposition of suggested retail price tags in basic commodities and other goods, prices are still not commensurate to the reduced oil prices.”
“There should be more transparency on how our goods are priced and it should be the DTI that should take the lead in this because inflation is still the main concern of our countrymen. The glaring reality is that they are still having a hard time coping up with the high prices of commodities.”
Last, Marcos commended on Thursday antidrug authorities for foiling the attempt of an international syndicate to smuggling into the country a large shipment of illegal drugs concealed in machine tools.
Antidrug authorities seized on Tuesday around P180 million worth of suspected shabu, or methamphetamine hydrochloride, in Valenzuela City from two Chinese-Filipino men, both believed to be members of an international drug network.
“This is precisely what our authorities need to do to put a dent into the persisting alarming growth of the drug problem in the country: hit hard on big-time drug syndicates,” Marcos said.
The senator has been urging the country’s antidrug authorities to re-focus their priorities from small drug dens and dealers and, instead, concentrate on big-time drug lords and syndicates operating in the country.
Marcos said it is encouraging to note that the successful antidrug operation was conducted through the joint efforts of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group of the Philippine National Police.
Local antidrug authorities also attribute the success of their operation because of their coordination with our own Bureau of Customs with the Prosecutors of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the Taiwan Bureau of Investigation and Ministry of Justice, according to Marcos.
He noted that in the past there were instances when law-enforcement agencies engaged in fierce competition with one another hampering the antidrug drive.
“This operation is a perfect example of what unity and teamwork can achieve, and for this, they deserve our commendation,” Marcos said.
Recovered from the suspects were three bags containing 36 vacuum-sealed aluminum foil packs, each containing a kilo of shabu. The suspects are reportedly members of the Asia Drug Network, a narcotics gang operating in China, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
“I hope our antidrug authorities would not rest on their laurel and continuously intensify their crackdown on big-time drug syndicates. Now that big-time drug syndicates know we are on to their modus operandi they will try to find new ways to ship their contraband.”
Marcos called for better government support to antidrug agencies in terms of equipment, manpower and training to give them the edge they need to sustain the fight against the drug menace.