“The Filipino people have no reason to celebrate Noynoy Aquino’s birthday in the face of his continuing servility to the interests of the local oil cartel”
This was the reaction of newly-elected Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo to the latest oil price hike, a P1.00 per liter increase for diesel and gasoline which was implemented last midnight.
“This is the way Noynoy throws a bash with his ‘Big 3’ buddies: by allowing them to squeeze more out of Filipinos through overpricing” said the youth leader.
Crisostomo asserted that local oil firms commit overpricing through the following:
- Oil firms only change their crude oil stocks every three months, hence, having local pump prices reflect changes in the world market will only result in greater profits
- Oil firms do not purchase their stocks from the world market but solely from their ‘mother’ companies
- ‘Transfer pricing’, or the overpricing of the crude oil ‘mother’ companies sell to their local firms
“Buti pa yung Porsche niya binibigyan ng atensyon, bakit kung hinggil sapagtaas ng presyo ng langis wala ni-isang salita ang marinig mula sa kanya? (We envy his Porsche because it gets all the attention whereas not a single word about the oil price hikes can be heard from him)” said the youth leader.
Anakbayan, the militant group of young workers, professionals, and students announced in the MRT-LRT fare hike last Feb. 4 that a nationwide walkout would be held this Feb. 28 to protest the various fare, price hikes that have occurred since the start of the year.
Anakbayan, a militant group of young workers, professionals, and students welcomed today the announcement that the LRT-MRT fare hikes will not push through on March 1. The group called it a ‘victory’ of the Filipino people and urged everyone to ‘remain vigilant’ until the proposed hikes are withdrawn by the national government.
“The Filipino youth and people have no one else to thank but themselves. By signing our petitions, wearing black during Friday, joining the protest actions at the train stations, storming the Feb. 4 student consultation, etc., they have given the Aquino administration a preview of what awaits them should they carry on with the hikes” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
He noted however that since it is a deferrement as the LRTA claims to need at least a month to study the various position papers submitted to them, the hikes might push through after the one-month period. He demanded the Aquino administration to categorically scrap any proposals to increase LRT-MRT fares.
Next stop for ‘youth protest express’?
In the meantime, Crisostomo said that the planned Feb. 28 school walkouts will continue, not only to call for the scrapping of the LRT-MRT fare hikes, but also for President Aquino to finally take action on the other fare and oil price hikes.
“The collective action express is unstoppable. Our next stop should be the oil price hikes which affect virtually all Filipinos across the nation” said the youth leader.
“Unlike the trains which should be subsidized by the government, they don’t need to subsidize oil companies to keep down the prices of their products. Aquino should just bring back regulatory mechanisms to ensure that they are not overpricing” asserted Anakbayan’s Crisostomo.
The group has maintained that petroleum pump prices are overpriced mainly by three reasons:
1. Pump prices are being hiked weekly while the companies’ stock of crude oil is only replenished every three months
2. Their crude oil is not purchased at the open world market
3. It is bought from their ‘mother companies’ which practice ‘transfer pricing’, or the overpricing of products a mother company sells to its local subsidiary
Anakbayan, the militant group of young Filipino workers, professionals, and students expressed today its support to the Egyptian youth and people in their movement to oust the U.S-backed Mubarak regime.
Today, as millions are set to march to the Egyptian capital of Cairo alongside a nationwide general strike to push for the ouster of the U.S-backed Mubarak regime, Anakbayan expresses its solidarity with the Egyptian youth and people.
The militant organization of young Filipino workers, professionals, and students salutes the bravery of our counterparts in the Nile in facing off Mubarak’s state security forces, which are the recipients of the second-highest amount of U.S military assistance to any country and the world, and are like the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their wanton disregard for human rights.
We are all too familiar with the problems facing the Egyptian youth and people: unemployment (9%-11% in the past decade), rising prices of basic commodities and services (contributing to an extreme poverty incidence of 40.5%), insufficient funding for social services, rampant human rights violations, and a government that is servile to the interests of the United States.
The Egyptian people are justified in seeking the ouster of Mubarak for his policies, like that of any other U.S puppet, serve only to enrich multinational and transnational corporations, as well as the local elites.
Anakbayan and the rest of the Filipino youth have drawn, and continue to draw, important lessons from the Egyptian struggle for genuine liberation and democracy for our own cause: the futility of hoping for change under a U.S puppet regime, the worldwide truth that is the burden of pro-globalization policies on the youth and working class, and the need for militant actions to achieve real social change.
We urge our Egyptian counterparts to not be satisfied with the mere removal of Mubarak. They should continue organizing and mobilizing by the millions to push for clean and fair elections, the pursuance of an economic policy towards self-reliance and equitable development for all, and the junking of the old pro-U.S foreign policy. We can say with much certainty that our experience with the two previous ‘People power revolutions’, as well as our recent national elections, has shown that it is not enough to remove a dictator.
Meanwhile, we urge the youth all over the world to be vigilant and closely monitor developments in Egypt. We must show our support in a visible manner to them, and be prepared to condemn any moves by the United States to intervene in Egyptian matters, hijack the peoples’ movement, or outright smash it. We must also not let this opportunity pass in explaining to our fellows how the U.S imperialism that oppresses Egypt also burdens our peoples, and to organize them towards anti-imperialist movements.
Youth groups led by Anakbayan will hold a day-long series of protests today to protest the P1 jeepney fare hike, which will take effect tomorrow, as well as previous and pending other fare and price hikes.
The militant group of young workers, professionals, and students will also be joined by the following organizations: the League of Filipino Students (LFS), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP), Kabataan Partylist.
There will also be contingents from the following local campus alliances: STAND UP – UP Diliman, ASAP Katipunan – UP Manila, SAMASA – PUP, STAND – Phil. Normal University, KBPA – University of the East, and ACT – University of Sto. Tomas.
The actions will be kicked off by a noise barrage at Philcoa in Quezon City by University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) students at 7am.
By 12nn, students from UPD, University of the Philippines Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and other Metro Manila universities and several public high schools will walkout of their classes. They will all converge at the Mendiola Bridge at 1:30pm where they will hold a program.
Afterwards, the Mendiola contingent will join other sectoral organizations for a 5pm noise barrage at the Welcome Rotonda.
“(President Noynoy) Aquino should be held responsible for the jeep fare hike, as well as increases in the price of basic commodities, as he has allowed the oil cartel to pad their pump prices and profits at the expense of the public” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
“The jeep fare hike is but the tip of Noynoy Aquino’s ‘pyramid of price increases’ which the ordinary Filipino is being made to bear on their shoulders” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
He argued that aside from being a major factor in the recently approved jeep and taxi fare increases, higher transportation costs due to oil price hikes also contribute to increases in the price of vegetables and bread, as well as pending increases in the price of milk and a bus fare hike this month. Aside from these, there will also be increases in electricity and water charges this February, an up-to-100% hike for LRT-MRT fares, and a monthly toll increase in the SLEX until April.
“Aquino should be held responsible for this new ‘PPP’: Pyramid of Poverty & Price Hikes, as he has allowed the oil cartel to pad their pump prices and profits at the expense of the public” said the youth leader.
Crisostomo’s group has previously slammed the weekly oil price hikes last January as ‘baseless’ due to the fact that local oil firms did not buy their crude oil on a weekly basis, as commonly thought of, but every three months. They cited an earlier pronouncement by the umbrella group Bayan that at the close of 2010, local pump prices were overpriced by P6.72 per liter.
Meanwhile, Crisostomo called on the government to intervene with the series of hikes, lest Aquino be ‘burnt by the Egyptian fire’.
“We are closely watching the Egyptian peoples’ struggle against their own anti-poor, U.S-backed puppet. Aquino should be careful because once our patience runs out, he can bet we will be ‘walking like an Egyptian’” said the Anakbayan leader, in reference to massive protests in Egypt and other Middle East-North Africa countries spurred by the high price of many basic commodities. ###
Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan spokesperson, 09174416739
Anakbayan, a militant group of young workers, professionals, and students today hailed the successful popular uprising in the North African nation of Tunisia against its former dictator, saying it is a warning to President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III whose policies they say mirror that of his North African counterpart.
The 23-year reign of the Tunisian dictator, ex-President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, was ended by massive protests against widespread unemployment, rising food prices, lack of basic social services, and political repression. The protests were sparked by the suicide of a college graduate who resorted to selling fruits and vegetables because he was unable to find a job, and whose wares were confiscated by the police.
Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo hailed the successful uprising, saying Filipino youths should learn from it in the face of worsening poverty in the country today.
“The conditions of the Filipino and Tunisian youths are very similar: the prices of virtually everything are rising, there’s high unemployment, those with jobs have low wages, and those in the ‘informal sector’ such as vendors and pedicab drivers are subject to police harassment” he said.
Since the start of the year, expressway toll fees, taxi fares, and the prices of oil and vegetables have risen. There are pending increases in water rates, the price of milk, another toll increase in the SLEX and STAR expressways, and an up-to-100% fare hike in the MRT-LRT trains. The Aquino administration meanwhile has ruled out any wage increase in its first year in power.
“The youth of Tunisia also played a major part in the revolt, inspiring other sectors to take part in it. This should serve notice to last year’s striking students that they should go beyond their classrooms and link their struggles with that of workers, farmers, and urban poor” added Crisostomo, referring to last year’s November and December campus strikes where tens of thousands walked out of their classes against cuts in the education budget.
Tunisia’s uprising also inspired similar protests in the countries of Algeria, Jordan, and Egypt. In the Egyptian capital of Cairo, protesters chant “We are next, we are next, Ben Ali tell Mubarak he is next”, in reference to their own dictator.
“Noynoy, take heed. If you do not listen to the youth, you will be next” warned the Anakbayan leader.
A militant group of young workers, professionals, and students are calling for the inclusion of the issue of informal settlers in urban areas in the upcoming peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
“One reason why workers, students, and other urban poor continue to join the armed revolution in the countryside is because of incidents like the demolition in Brgy. Corazon de Jesus” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
The residents of Corazon de Jesus are resisting plans to relocate them to sites in Rizal and Laguna, saying these are too far from their present jobs and from access to clean water, electricity, alternative livelihoods, schools, and health centers.
“We hope that the NDF, with its very pro-poor program, will take up the cudgels for the urban poor of Corazon de Jesus and other places in the peace talks” said the youth leader.
The NDFP has a 12-point program, in which the 4th point (Uphold and promote the peoples’ democratic rights) include the assurance of full employment, and the guarantee of social services such as housing.
“When they see the very police and military that are supposed to ‘serve and protect’ them are the ones that take the lead in violating their human rights, they become open to the analysis that the current system and government does not really represent their interests, as well as that of other marginalized sectors” said Crisostomo.
Videos and photographs of the demolition showed various abuses by the police, including the use of teargas, taunting of paralegals and ‘indy’ media practitioners, and the mauling of unarmed residents.
The youth leader added “We have encountered countless workers, students, and other urban poor who no longer see the attraction of working for change within the legal framework of the government when they hear of a another ‘army’ in the rural areas which punishes abusive cops and soldiers, and parallel government in the countryside that is already implementing reforms that successive administrations have been unable to do so”.
“Unless the Aquino government learns from its predecessors’ mistakes and comes into terms with the truth that poverty, inequality, and injustice are the roots of armed resistance, they will certainly replace the Arroyo and Marcos regimes for the title of ‘NPA recruiter #1’” concluded the Anakbayan leader, in reference to the New People’s Army which is a member group of the NDFP.
A militant group of young workers, professionals, and students condemned yesterday’s violent demolition of homes in an urban poor community in San Juan City where more than 50 residents and their supporters were injured, while 13 were arrested. They also blasted San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito’s statements that the violence was ‘instigated’ by progressive groups as ‘the ignorance typical of modern-day feudal lords’.
“When their rights are trampled upon, the poor will rise up on their own accord. Obviously, JV has not learnt from his father’s experience” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo, referring to JV’s father, former president Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2001 despite winning the 1998 elections on the basis of a ‘pro-poor’ image.
The residents of Brgy. Corazon de Jesus in Pinaglabanan, San Juan are against their planned relocation to sites in Rizal and Laguna on the grounds that these are too far from their present jobs or any sources of livelihood. Both sites also have no access to clean drinking water, electricity, schools, and health centers.
“They are resorting to the typical ‘agitators-infiltrators’ theory because they are so used to lording it over to the people of San Juan” said the youth leader.
The Estradas, starting with the former president, have dominated the political landscape in San Juan since the 1970s.
“The Estradas should try living in those relocation sites so they can understand why Pinaglabanan’s residents resorted to desperate measures. It’s hard to get a grip on reality if you are stuck in one of their many ill-gotten mansions” added Crisostomo.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan warned that the ‘Battle of Pinaglabanan’ is a sign of a ‘brewing revolt’ against government policies which pushing millions of Filipinos deeper into poverty.
“JV is not the only one who should learn from Erap’s experience. President Aquino should remember that demolitions of homes, price and fare hikes, low wages, and the slashing of social services’ spending all fueled countless protests which eventually led to Edsa 2” said Anakbayan’s Crisostomo.
Campuses across the nation went on strike last November and December to protest a cut in the education budget, while residents of the San Roque community in Quezon City and ‘kuliglig’ drivers in Manila clashed with the police to protect their homes and jobs.
“Another popular uprising? With the way Noynoy is running things, that’s the destination of daang matuwid” concluded the youth leader.