Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-May Fist Movement) said the wave of oil price rollbacks is only ‘a smokescreen to the continued exploitation of the oil companies.’
Elmer Labog, KMU chairperson said the people deserve bigger price cuts.
The group said the diesel pump price should only be P37 or $0.79 (USD 1: P 46.66) based on the current world market price of $97. The amount is P11 or $0.23 lower than the present price. The KMU said it was the diesel price last November 2007 when Dubai crude was also $97.
The group estimated that with this 11-peso overprice, oil companies get an additional P244 million or approximately $5.32 million every day from diesel consumption of jeepneys, tricycles and fishing boats alone.
The government also collects P131 million or $2.42 million everyday from value-added tax based on the current diesel price.
Labog said, “We should stop being at the mercy of the oil cartel, who plays with oil prices to suit their greed and public image. It is high time to scrap the Oil Deregulation Law and control the price of oil.”
The group held nationwide protests today against high oil prices, VAT and low wages.
Demonstrations were held in various areas of Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Negros, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, General Santos, and Cagayan De Oro, among others.
In a statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan- New Patriotic Alliance) said the cancellation of the 12 percent VAT on oil and power, implementation of substantial oil price rollback and a significant increase in the minimum wage of public and private sector workers are among the pressing reforms that will ‘provide relief to the people.’
Arnold Padilla, Bayan public information officer said, ” “The urgency for government to heed these demands has been heightened by the worsening global financial crisis that has already claimed some of the mightiest banks in the US.”
He said that the ‘export-oriented, import-dependent and foreign capital-led Philippine economy is highly vulnerable to the global economic crisis which could result to more contraction in the local and international labor markets as well as further push up the cost of living.’
“This means even less job opportunities for our workers, including the OFWs. This also means even higher food and fuel prices. All this will happen amid an already bad situation of chronic job scarcity, low wages and income, and double-digit inflation”, said Padilla. (Bulatlat)