Category Archives: oil price hike

Philippines 300K fishers asked to join fish strike vs. oil price hikes

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, all.voices.com
MANILA, Philippines- The series of oil price hikes prompted a leftist fisher group in the Philippines to call for a fish strike at the end of this month.
The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday urged the more than 313,000 small fishermen across the country who operates small fishing boats to go on fish strike on March 31 against the unbridled increases in the prices of petroleum products.
“Let us mark March 31 as a National Day of Outrage Against the Oil Cartel Exploitation and the Puppetry of the Aquino government to multinational oil companies,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a statement.
In a hastily called press conference yesterday held at Pamalakaya national headquarters in Quezon City, Hicap revealed that the national secretariat had issued a memorandum to 43 provincial chapters of the group to join the fish strike on March 31 and convince also owners of commercial fishing vessels to join the nationwide fish strike on March 31.
The memorandum for Fish Strike and No Fish Day was dispatched over the weekend to Pamalakaya chapters in Northern Luzon and Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Negros Island and Panay Island, Far South Mindanao and Northern Mindanao. The March 31 “No Fish Day”, Pamalakaya said, is just the beginning of more protest actions from marginal fisherfolk.
“Let us all express our collective outrage against this national exploitation and oppression courtesy of oil cartel and their incumbent puppet and client in Malacanang. We ask our small fisherfolk and the operators of commercial fishing vessels to join the small fisher people in this fight against this national exploitation for all season,” said Hicap.
Last Tuesday, oil companies raised prices of gasoline and diesel by P 1.50 per liter and kerosene by P 1.25 per liter, the third time in eight days, making the accumulative increases in the prices of gasoline by P 6.75 per liter for gasoline and P 6.50 per liter for diesel since January this year.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said the fisherfolk who regularly consume 10 liters of gasoline or diesel per fishing trip are groaning in pain due to the intermittent increases in the prices of petroleum products. He said the cost of petroleum products eats up 80 percent of the total production cost per fishing trip.

Hicap said in 2008, due to weekly increases in prices of oil products, fisherfolk were forced to cut fishing trip from the regular 8 hours to 12 hours to 4 hours to 12 hours. The Pamalakaya leader said small fisherfolk also reduced fishing days from the average 5 to 6 days a week to 3 days a week due to oil price hikes. The Pamalakaya leader said about 313,985 owners of small fishing boats have been affected by the series of oil price hikes all over the country.

For his part, Pamalakaya Vice chairperson for Luzon Salvador France said the oil price hikes also affected operators and owners of commercial fishing vessels. During the same period, France recalled that commercial fishing operators admitted that oil cost make up 65 percent of their companies total production cost per fishing expedition.

“If my memory serves me right, around 50,000 fish workers lost their jobs as 14 tuna canneries in Western Mindanao engaged in tuna fishing and canning closed shops or downsized their operations as a result of oil price hikes and the 12 percent expanded VAT levied on petroleum products,” France said.

He said the Iloilo City based Jumbo Fishing Company, an operator of 30 medium-sized commercial fishing boats grounded its vessels in protest of the weekly oil price hikes and the 12 percent VAT on oil. The fishing company said they pay P 1.8 million per month for VAT on oil alone.

8-point demand
Meanwhile, Pamalakaya national vice chairperson Pedro Gonzalez enumerates the concise 8 point proposal of the group the Aquino administration should undertake to stop the oil price hikes.
1. Immediately impose price control on petroleum products.

2. Compel oil companies mainly the Petron, Shell and Chevron to open their books of accounts to allow the government to identify their practices of overpricing and other forms of price manipulation.

3. Remove from the current prices of petroleum products the amount representing overpriced cost (overpricing reaches P6.72 per liter according to recent study)

4. Recover the P 10.5 billion in total tax credits and incentives given to oil companies.

5. Remove the 12 percent VAT imposed on oil products

6. Use the P 68-billion audit free pork barrel of President Aquino for oil and production subsidies. The allocations would be P 28 billion for small fisherfolk and other rural products using oil products, P 20 billion for small jeepney drivers and operators and the remaining P 20-B for livelihood subsidies of other vulnerable sectors

7. Certify as urgent House Bill No. 4317 authored by Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano calling for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law.

8. Reclaim or re-acquire the entire Petron to pave way for the nationalization of oil industry.
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Palace dared to takeover oil cartel, nationalize oil industry

By Bb. Joyce Cabral and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue another executive order declaring the state takeover the three-leading of oil firms in the country–Shell, Chevron and Petron to counter the legal challenged opposed by Shell against the current price cap imposed by Executive Order No. 839.

“It confirms that EO 839 has only minimal impact and merely a paper tiger that can be challenged in all venues by the powerful the oil cartel and their apologists in big business. The best way to fortify the people’s position against oil monopoly and other forms of predatory pricing and corporate exploitation is to push the takeover and nationalization of oil industry,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Pilipinas Shell has filed an urgent petition with the Makati Regional Trial Court to order Malacanang to lift EO 839 freezing prices of petroleum products in Luzon.

In a petition for prohibition, mandamus and injunction, Shell asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the continued implementation of the EO on grounds that it is unconstitutional.

It named as respondents Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, representing the Department of Energy-Department of Justice (DOE-DOJ) joint task force implementing the order.

“The state takeover of oil companies and the nationalization of the oil industry is the best safeguard for public interest. If Malacanang really wants to serve public interest, it should rush Congress to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law that empowers the oil cartel to treat this country like their one of their oil republics,” added Hicap.

Palace economic spokesperson Gary Olivar in response to big business proposal to withdraw EO 839, said the order was justified but may be lifted on a time schedule, independent of state calamity. But the Pamalakaya leader said the Palace statement was an indication that it is giving in to the pressure of oil companies and big business groups.

“The statement of Olivar is clear. The EO will be lifted at the soonest possible time to please the Big Three which controls more than 80 percent of the oil distribution and marketing all over the country and their business partners in the corporate world. The state takeover and the eventual nationalization of the oil industry becomes a necessity rather than rely on EO No.839,” added Hicap.

The militant group asserted the takeover of Shell, Chevron and Petron will just take less than 24-hours by mere declaration and issuance of an executive order, and all it takes, according to Pamalakaya, is strong political will that should be exercised by President Arroyo and her economic and political officials and advisers.

Pamalakaya also supported the national boycott campaign being called by the militant umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) to punish the oil cartel, which the fisherfolk group accused of exploiting the economic and humanitarian crisis to further advance their unbridled campaign for super profits.

“The boycott of the three oil firms becomes necessary at this stage to weaken their political position brought about by their control of the 80 percent of oil supply and distribution all over the country. The campaign for boycott of Shell, Chevron and Petron will make a difference in favor the exploited public,” the militant group said.

While the proposed takeover is still being discussed or debated, Pamalakaya also suggested an immediate and unconditional full-blown inventory of petroleum stocks of oil companies after Shell Philippines country chair Edgar Chua predicted an oil shortage and investment backlash if oil firms will follow Palace order to bring down fuel prices.

Last week, the Office of the President issued Executive Order No. 839, which directs oil companies to bring down prices of petroleum products to their Oct.15 levels. On Oct.20, prices of gasoline were raised by P 1.25 per liter, while prices of diesel were raised by an average of P 2 per liter.

The order to freeze prices of petroleum products will be in effect until President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lifted the State of Calamity she declared in the entire Luzon. The Department of Energy (DoE) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) will strictly implement the executive order.

But Pamalakaya said an across-the-country inventory of the oil stocks of Shell, Chevron and Petron to determine if there’s truth to the warning of possible shortage in supply in case the these three oil firms which control more than 80 percent of oil market all over the country reduce their prices at prevailing levels less than 2 weeks ago.

“Aside from full-blown inventory of oil products, Malacanang should also open and scrutinize the books of accounts of Shell, Caltex and Petron and have their records broadcasted in the tri-media for public consumption and public discourse,” the group added.

Pamalakaya said the three oil firms will also resist inventory and auditing of their stocks and financial conditions and profitability, and therefore, it is only lawfully and morally just for the government to take over the ownership and operations of Shell, Chevron and Petron towards their nationalization for the interest and common good of the Filipino public. #

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Satur urges Malacanang to defy business groups demanding termination of EO 839

By Vince Borneo, contributor

Manila, Philippines- Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today said that Malacanang should not cave in to the demand of foreign and local businessmen that Executive Order 839, which places petroleum products under price control, be terminated. The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said that the EO 839 is damaging to the oil industry. Other groups have also expressed concern over EO 839, among them the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Makati Business Club, and the Federation of Philippine Industries.

“Instead of heeding the JFC,MAP, et al, Malacanang should defy their warnings and threats, and remain firm in implementing EO 839. There has been a long-standing need to regulate the prices of oil and petroleum products in the Philippines and it had to take a series of major calamities for the government to impose it. The oil cartel and their partners have been chaffing at the bit because their profiteering has been reined in. Their arguments against price controls are blatantly self-serving and do not serve the public good,” Ocampo said.

“If Malacanang caves in, the oil cartel would have again won, and it’s another point proving the weakness and ineffectivity of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in protecting the public interest,” he added.

Ocampo even challenged the Palace not only to maintain price controls but to overhaul the oil industry by regulating and eventually nationalizing it.

Ocampo called on the JFC, MAP and other business groups to rethink their blind faith on deregulated markets especially since a cartel exists in the oil industry. “Consumers and the rest of the Filipino people are already overly-familiar with the abuses of Shell, Caltex and Petron. Rather than side with the oil cartel, I hope our businessmen will help find ways to bust the cartel and ensure that oil prices are just, reasonable and transparent,” Ocampo said. #

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Fishers group presses state takeover of Big Three

By Viva Regala-Alonzo

Manila, Philippines- The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday pressed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue another executive order declaring state takeover the three-leading of oil firms in the country–Shell, Chevron and Petron over the oil cartel’s refusal to bring down prices of petroleum products in times of emergency crisis and calamity.

“In the name of national interest and public trust, we challenge Mrs. Arroyo to sign and issue another executive order calling for the government takeover of the oil cartel. Her government should quit playing the typecast role of oil cartel puppet and radically change the situation by nationalizing the oil industry and purse state ownership and operations of petroleum sector,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said the takeover of Shell, Chevron and Petron will just take less than 24-hours by mere declaration and issuance of an executive order, and all it takes, according to Hicap, is strong political will that should be exercised by President Arroyo and her economic and political officials and advisers.

Pamalakaya admitted the takeover will face strong resistance and defiance from oil cartel and the latter will provide layers of legal obstacles and processes to resist nationalization of oil industry.

The militant group said while the takeover or nationalization of the ownership and operations of the oil cartel might take sometime or is still being processed, the national boycott being called by the militant umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is an immediate task to punish the oil cartel, which the fisherfolk group said is exploiting the economic and humanitarian crisis to further advance their unbridled campaign for super profits.

“The boycott of the three oil firms becomes necessary at this stage to weaken their political position brought about by their control of the 80 percent of oil supply and distribution all over the country. The campaign for boycott of Shell, Chevron and Petron will make a difference in favor the exploited public,” the militant group said.

While the proposed takeover is still being discussed or debated, Pamalakaya suggested an immediate and unconditional full-blown inventory of petroleum stocks of oil companies after Shell Philippines country chair Edgar Chua predicted an oil shortage and investment backlash if oil firms will follow Palace order to bring down fuel prices to their levels 12 days ago.

Last Friday, the Office of the President issued Executive Order No. 839, which directs oil companies to bring down prices of petroleum products to their Oct.15 levels. On Oct.20, prices of gasoline were raised by P 1.25 per liter, while prices of diesel were raised by an average of P 2 per liter.

The order to freeze prices of petroleum products will be in effect until President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lifted the State of Calamity she declared in the entire Luzon. The Department of Energy (DoE) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) will strictly implement the executive order.

But Pamalakaya said an across-the-country inventory of the oil stocks of Shell, Chevron and Petron to determine if there’s truth to the warning of possible shortage in supply in case the these three oil firms which control more than 80 percent of oil market all over the country reduce their prices at prevailing levels less than 2 weeks ago.

“Aside from full-blown inventory of oil products, Malacanang should also open and scrutinize the books of accounts of Shell, Caltex and Petron and have their records broadcasted in the tri-media for public consumption and public discourse,” the group added.

Pamalakaya said the three oil firms will also resist inventory and auditing of their stocks and financial conditions and profitability, and therefore, it is only lawfully and morally just for the government to take over the ownership and operations of Shell, Chevron and Petron towards their nationalization for the common interest and common good of the Filipino public. #

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Satur to poll body: Allow militant migrant group to run in 2010

By Sugar Hicap and Lollipop de los Reyes

Quezon City, Philippines- Party list coalition Makabayan today strongly urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to reconsider its earlier resolution to remove Migrante Sectoral Party from the list of accredited party-list organizations participating in the 2010 elections.

“Thousands of overseas Filpinos are in danger of being disenfranchised by this COMELEC ruling. They who contribute so much from the economy have for so long been marginalized by the electoral system. Now, once again, they are being denied their right to representation,” said Rep. Satur Ocampo, president of Makabayan.

In an en banc resolution last October 13, 2009, COMELEC barred Migrante and 25 other party-list organizations from participating in the 2010 elections. Migrante, according to the commission, participated and failed to gain seats in two straight elections prior to the upcoming polls.

It is on record, however, that Migrante only participated during the 2004 elections and signified their intent not to run in 2007 while maintaining the option to run in the next election.

“It is clear from its track record that Migrante is a legitimate party-list organization, with the largest and broadest membership among overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines. It cannot be denied that to delist Migrante is to disenfranchise their constituency,” explained Ocampo.

The Makabayan president further pointed to COMELEC’s wild inconsistencies in its decision to delist and maintain party-list groups in its accredited list. For instance, groups like BISA, Pinoy Overseas Party and Banat were allowed to run in 2004 even as they failed to garner the required two-percent of total party-list votes to garner seats in 1998. These groups also failed to run during the 2001 elections.

The activist lawmaker lamented that groups with dubious representation like (Mike Arroyo’s sister) Ma. Lourdes Arroyo’s Kasangga Party-list and butcher general Jovito Palparan’s Bantay Party-list were allowed to participate in 2007 and defame the true spirit of the Party-List System Act.

“All these point to a political motive in the delisting of Migrante. After all, Migrante, along with the other progressive party-list organizations, have been the most vocal in criticizing government misdeeds and even exposing electoral fraud during the past elections,” said Ocampo.

Ocampo also urged the commission not to give in to pressure from Malacañang. He asked COMELEC to give progressive party-list organizations like Migrante a chance to finally run for House seats that would represent the millions of Filipinos long denied of due representation.

While Comelec was slapped with criticisms over its decision to delist Migrante sectoral party list, the militant Bayan Muna party list welcomed the statement of House Speaker Prospero Nograles expressing the urgent need to stop the abuses of oil cartel-Shell, Caltex and Petron.

Nograles also said that the Oil Deregulation Law fell short of its supposed intent to put an end to the monopoly of the big three on the oil industry.

“It’s good that Speaker Nograles has seen the light on this issue of oil deregulation. For the longest time, Shell, Caltex and Petron have been abusing the law by jacking up their prices at the slightest excuse. Oil deregulation has only made the cartel even more abusive, and consumers have been at their mercy since the law was approved in 1998. More than a decade later, we have all seen the disastrous impact of oil deregulation, and it’s high time that the law be repealed,” Bayan Muna secretary general Nathanael Santiago said.

Santiago said that despite Nograles’ assertion that there was no more time to repeal the law, he said that “it was still important for Congress to make the attempt.”

He said that “all it will take is strong and determined political will to repeal the law and send an unmistakable signal to the Big Three that their abuses are not being tolerated.”

“There is still enough time to fast-track measures to repeal the oil deregulation law. If bills pushed by Malacanang can be rushed and even passed in a series of overnight plenary sessions, why not a bill putting an end to oil deregulation? It would be a great service to once and for all repeal this law that has brought nothing but added economic burdens to the people,” Santiago said.

“Bayan Muna is certain that our many lawmakers are willing to sacrifice a few sleepless nights for this effort. The oil companies should be taught a lesson, and this could be a good first step towards regulating the oil industry,” he added.

“If Speaker Nograles will put his influence and clout behind calls for the repeal of oil deregulation law, it will be possible to junk the said law before the end of the 14th Congress,” Santiago said. #

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