Transport strike a fitting blow against oil monopolies and Aquino government

19 September 2011

MANILA — Spearheaded by transport groups and participated in by the people, the nationwide transport strike on 19 September is a legitimate militant action against the series of oil price increases that has intensified
poverty by eroding further the already nil purchasing power of the poor.

In monopoly of 85 – 90% of the oil industry market, the Big Three — Shell, Caltex, and Petron — have taken full advantage of the fluctuation in world crude prices to increase their local prices twice weekly on the average, and further expand their profit margin.

The big three are quick to jack up their local prices nearly as soon as the price of oil in the world market surges, but act too slow when the latter nosedives. This devious trick-of-the-trade has brought the
big three to overprice (at Php6.72/liter or Php 1,068.48/barrel), raking in gargantuan profits at the expense of already cash-strapped consumers.

Given its domino-effect on other basic goods, this continuing assault against the Filipino people, especially against the majority poor, must end.

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Despite its “the people are my bosses” rhetoric, the Benigno Aquino III government has turned apologist for the Big Three, permitting the onslaught of oil price increases, averaging from Php 0.90 to more than Php 1 each week, to repeatedly batter the people and to allow the oil companies to rake in big profits.

Worse than the Arroyo regime, the Aquino government deliberately disregards workable measures to avert the impact of oil price increases, such as scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law (RA 8479) and nationalizing the oil industry.

Instead of providing for real solutions, the Aquino government has employed the so-called “fuel subsidy” scheme, a dole-out to “cushion” the impact of oil price hikes. This is merely a palliative that least serves the interest of the people. What once was the function of the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) is now taken
over by this myopic scheme.

But, if one recalls, the OPSF was misused, abused, and was rendered inutile in its strategic purpose to buffer the impact of oil price increases. Will the “fuel subsidy” be any better? Absolutely not. The most that it can do is to act as a placebo. And, once funds are depleted, the Filipino people are again left to the mercy of the Big Three.

There is collusion between the Big Three and Noynoy Aquino, a connivance to further rob the Filipino people, and gain superprofit for the former, tax funds vulnerable to corruption from the burdensome 12% VAT for the latter.

We ask the broad masses to support the nationally-coordinated transport strike. This militant action is a fitting blow against the continuing oil price hikes imposed by the oil cartel in collusion with the Aquino regime. This strike must be complemented with continuing people’s protest in major cities as well as in the countryside.

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