By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Handog Malaya Vera
MANILA, Philippines-(UPDATE) STARTER, the regional chapter of the militant transport group PISTON is gearing for a one day transport strike and protest against unstoppable increases in the prices of petroleum products.
STARTER-PISTON chairperson Rolando Mingo said the transport strike in Southern Tagalog is timed on the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) which President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will deliver by mid afternoon on Monday next week.
“The transport strike in the region showcases the wholesale condemnation and disgust of the people and the transport sector against the Aquino government which perpetually connives with oil giants in exploiting the people and the poor transport sector,” according to a statement furnished to all voices.
As preview to the upcoming transport strike, members of STARTER-PISTON and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Timog Katagalugan (Bayan-TK) staged demonstrations in the main offices of the reigning oil cartel– Shell, Chevron and Petron in Makati City.
Bayan-TK Secretary General XL Fuentes noted that last July 12, oil firms led by the Big Three jacked up prices of gasoline by P 2 per liter and 90 centavos for kerosene and diesel.
The Bayan leader added that the recent hike in the prices of the petroleum products is the 19th under the Aquino administration. Fuentes said the intermittent increases in the prices of oil products further compounded the problem of unemployment and poverty.
The militant group asserted current prices of petroleum products are overpriced by an average of P 8 per liter, but Aquino refused to correct this monopolistic and fraudulent practice of oil firms. It also lamented the President Aquino remains hardline and pro-cartel and still refuses to remove the 12 percent expanded value added tax (EVAT) levied on oil.
Bayan-TK said unemployment rate remains at all time high of 11 percent, while not less than 15 percent of the total population are experiencing extreme poverty.