Strike in Davao a success

March 31, 2011

Davao City — Members of various transport groups led by TRANSMISSION–PISTON together with the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Anakpawis Partylist achieved 95% participation rate from public transport operators here today.

Relentless increases in the prices of petroleum products paved the way for various protest actions and transport strikes in major regions – Bicol on March 16, General Santos City on simultaneous caravan protest and strikes in Davao, NCR and Visayas today.

Anakpawis lambasted the series of oil price hikes pre-determined in the “weekly price adjustment formula” agreed by the government and the oil companies.

“It is not enough that the oil price hikes reflect the fluctuating and manipulated price of oil in the world market. What the people need from P-Noy as any other independent government ought to do is to stand up to the voracious and unfettered profit hoarding of oil cartel while its people are deprived of food and other basic needs for a quality and dignified life,” said Anakpawis in a statement.

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As a solution, ANAKPAWIS urged the Aquino government to push for the enactment of House Bill 4317 or “An Act Repealing Republic Act 8479, otherwise Known as An Act Deregulating the Downstream Oil Industry” to end the monopoly and abuse of oil cartels of the Filipino people.

“Scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law would be statement that will prove a government’s political will for the welfare of its people and economy rather than merely bowing to the dictates of capitalists,” said Editha Duterte, Anakpawis coordinator.

“While the majority of the Filipino people suffer from oil price increases, oil cartels reap billions of profit. US oil magnates ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips were reported to have gained US $ 58.3 billion in profits in 2010, according to the January 2011 financial figures. ExxonMobil alone pocketed $30.5 billion, noting an increase of $11 billion from 2009,” said Anakpawis.

According to the monitoring of Piston, oil companies levied as much as P 8.12 overpriced rate on oil products in 2010. With this, drivers lose P 5,278 per month (P8.12/liter x 25 liters purchased and used per day x 26 working days).

With the P 6.72 overpriced rate this year, drivers are losing P 4,368 per month to oil cartels and EVAT (P6.72/liter x 25 liters x 26 working days).

Jeepney drivers in Davao decry the major decrease in their take home earnings.

“I would be lucky to bring home P 250 after 14 hours of driving. That is why the incessant price hikes I already too much to be ignored,” said Dodong Francisco, a jeepney driver in the Sasa route.

Even taxi drivers have been complaining.

“With the oil price increases now, I spend as much as P 1, 750 for gas a day and take home only P 300 if I’m lucky after more than 15 hours of driving . My family would be damned if the oil price shoots up to P 70 per liter or higher. I think when that happens, it would be better to quit,” said a taxi driver.

According to Anakpawis, the growing mass unrest over the increasing prices of petroleum and food products, is an indicator of looming major political disaster for the current administration. #

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