MANILA – WOMEN and consumer groups once again filled the streets with protests on World Consumers’ Rights Day today, and bombarded the administration of President Noynoy Aquino with repeated demands for price regulation and tax cuts on oil products.
The women’s rights group GABRIELA picketed at the curb of the National Housing Authority with students, transport industry leaders, and shantytown dwellers under the umbrella alliance of Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM) on the day also dubbed as the National Day of Protest vs Oil Overpricing.
GABRIELA secretary general Lana Linaban angrily lashed out at Aquino’s technocrats, especially the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), for claiming that food prices in wet markets are not affected by the twice weekly surges in fuel prices.
“Contrary to DTI’s statement that food prices are not affected by oil price hikes, vegetable traders said that they are forced to increase prices of produce as increase in fuel prices affect the transport of goods from the farms in Benguet to the markets in Metro Manila,” Linaban said. “Women consumers bear the brunt of these oil overpricing spikes, and the DTI and Noynoy are oblivious to how horribly close the prices of basic commodities are chasing the price increases of the Big Three oil company products.”
GABRIELA reiterated the call for the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law and the 12% value added tax on petroleum. These measures GABRIELA said will trigger at least six pesos rollback on pump prices and stabilize downstream the value of food, utilities, and transport fares. The group stepped up its campaign under ALTAPRESYO(n) (Alerto sa Taas Presyo Network) to gather signatures for their petition to remove the 12% VAT and repeal the oil deregulation law.
Protest centers led by women in E. Rodriguez and Commonwealth in Quezon City were also part of various protest centers led by KPMM in Metro Manila. Provincial chapters of Gabriela also jammed city plazas in Southern Tagalog, Davao, Cebu, Baguio, Iloilo, Legazpi and Bacolod.
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines