Transport Groups Protest Oil Price Hikes In South RP

December 10, 2007 at 10:56 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 10, 2007) – Militant transport groups in the southern Filipino port city of Davao said it would join national strike this week to protest continued hikes in oil prices.

Edil Gonzaga, spokesperson of the Transport of Southern Mindanao for Solidarity, Independence and Nationalism-PISTON(TRANSMISION-PISTON), said there will be more protest actions unless President Gloria Arroyo exerts substantial effort to put a cap on surging hikes of prices of petroleum products.

“Drivers and operators around the country have been demanding the government to put a stop on these unabated oil price increases. Poor Filipinos have been clamoring economic relief from the consequent upsurge of prices of basic commodities. Time and time again, the Arroyo administration has never failed to disappoint the clamor of the Filipinos,” Gonzaga told the Mindanao Examiner.

Gonzaga also lambasted the so-called “Big Three,” or transnational oil companies Shell, Caltex and Petron. He said these firms control 90% of the oil market in the country, from production, refinery, retail and marketing.

This control, he added, has given the three companies monopoly over setting the price trend of all oil and petroleum products in the country.

“What can you expect from profit-hungry companies like like Shell, Caltex and Petron? All they are concerned about is increasing their profit margins hundredfolds. What do they care if ordinary drivers and Filipinos can no longer afford basic commodities, which prices consequently skyrocketed due to unabated hike in the price of oil?”

He also pointed out that the government has “washed its hands clean” with its policy on oil price hikes. Due to the Oil Deregulation Law that took effect in 1998, Gonzaga said that oil companies are afforded by the government with the free hand to increase the price of oil in their discretion.

“All this government needs is the political will to severe its subservience to big oil companies. It needs the same political will to scrap the ODL that continues to give these companies the lee way to hike oil price whenever and to how much they want,” Gonzaga said.

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