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March 15 is ‘Day of Rage’ vs oil price hikes

Various organizations are calling for campus and workplace walk-outs, mass actions and assemblies nationwide against oil price hikes on Thursday, March 15. In a unity statement, about a hundred groups under “Kilos na Kontra Kartel at Overpricing sa Langis” urged the youth and people to wage big nationwide protests.

“Kami ay lubusang nababahala sa sunod-sunod na mga pagtataas ng presyo ng langis. Hindi na matitiis ng
taumbayan ang grabeng pahirap sa mamamayan ng overpricing at paniniba ng mga kartel sa presyo ng langis,”
said the unity statement.

The groups assailed the Aquino government for its failure to stop oil price hikes and for “acting like a spokesperson and a protector of the oil cartel.”

“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang pagbubulag-bulagan ng gubyernong Aquino sa pahirap na idinudulot na pahirap
ng oil price hikes sa taumbayan. Nakakabahala na nagiging protektor at tagapagsalita pa ito ng malalaking
kumpanya ng langis sa pagsasamantala sa bayan,” the groups said.

They pointed to “greed” of the oil cartel as reason behind the successive oil price hikes. They said the monopoly control that big oil companies have enable them to manipulate supply and overprice pump prices.

“Dahil monopolyado ang industriya, minamanipula nila ang suplay at presyo sa daigdig at sinisirit pataas ang presyo ng langis para tumubo. Itinutulak ding pataas ng ispekulasyon ng mga kumpanya ng langis at malalaking bangko ang presyo para kumamal pa ng sobrang tubo. Pinapatungan nila ng sobra-sobra ang lokal na presyo ng produktong petrolyo,” they said.

They demanded that the government immediately act to stop the oil price hikes, scrap the value added tax on oil, scrap the oil deregulation law, and push towards nationalization of the oil industry.

Among the signatories of the statement are youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement and Kabataan Partylist.

Student councils and organizations from University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, UP Manila, Philippine Normal University, Far Eastern University, University of the East, University of Santo Tomas and others.

Transport groups, factory workers and government employees also vowed to participate in the protests against oil price hikes next week. According to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, a historic show of rage is needed to stop the price hikes such as what have been done in Nigeria against oil price hikes and in the Middle East against hunger and poverty.

“The ‘Big 3’ continue to rob the working people of hard-earned income while the Aquino government continues to connive with them by doing nothing and acting as their spokesperson,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson.

Oil prices have increased nine times this year by as much as P5 per liter for diesel and P3 gasoline. The price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas have also increased by almost P200 per tank. Under the Aquino administration, oil prices have increased by P14.39 per liter for diesel and P15.03 per liter for gasoline.

In a discussion guide published on their website, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), explained why the
oil price hikes are unjust. According to their research, as much as 62% to 74% of world crude prices account to overpricing. For instance BAYAN estimates that Dubai crude is overpriced by as much as $67.63 to $81.46 per barrel.

On top of this, BAYAN estimates that local pump prices are further overpriced by an accumulated P8.61 per liter for diesel, and P16.83 for unleaded gasoline since 1999. The computation is done by comparing movements of Dubai Crude and foreign exchange rates on one hand, and local pump prices on the other.

According to IBON foundation, oil prices increase 20-22% faster in the Philippines compared to rise in world crude prices. BAYAN also cited former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director Ralph Recto’s statement stating that oil prices are overpriced by P8 per liter in 2009.

“Ang ganap at pangmatagalang solusyon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis ay ang lubusang pagsasabansa sa
industriya ng langis at buong sektor ng enerhiya sa Pilipinas,” BAYAN said, asserting that the root of the problem lies in the monopoly foreign control of the oil industry in the country.

“Susi ang tuloy-tuloy, sama-sama, at papalaking pagkilos ng mamamayan para gapiin ang dambuhalang dayuhang monopolyo sa langis at itatag ang isang bansang may seguridad sa enerhiya at tunay na maunlad,” BAYAN said.

On March 15, assemblies start at 6-7 in the morning in various points in most cities and regional centers in the country. In Metro Manila, protest areas will be put up in Sta. Mesa, Divisoria, Taft Ave, Cubao, Monumento, Philcoa and many others. The groups leading the day of protest are encouraging everyone to put up their own protest centers and take part in activities near them.

Read: Arnold Padilla’s Facts and Figures re Oil Prices

Watch: Mayday productions educational video on Oil Price Hikes

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