Youth group Anakbayan today slammed the latest oil price hike as proof that the Aquino administration and the ‘Big 3’ oil cartel for conniving to maintain local petroleum prices overpriced.
Oil firms hiked their pump prices on midnight of Tuesday, the third already this month, by P1.00 per liter for diesel, P0.75 for kerosene, and P0.50 for gasoline. The previous increases this month amount to P1.25 per liter for both diesel and gasoline.
“Baka mamatay nalang sa blood loss ang kabataan at manggagawa sa kakasipsip ng mga lintang kumpanya ng langis (Youths and workers might simply die of ‘blood loss’ because of the leeching of oil companies)” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
Students, workers, and young professionals are complaining about the recently-implemented taxi fare hike, and the pending petitions for jeep and bus fare hikes, all of which cite the spate of increases in pump prices as the main reason. Additionally, MRT-LRT fares are set to soar by around 100% on March 1.
“Pero ang pinaka-malaking sipsip ay walang iba kundi si Noynoy, sa kanyang pag-sipsip sa kartel ng langis (But the biggest sycophant is Noynoy with his kowtowing to the oil cartel)” the youth leader.
He criticized claims by the government that they were ‘powerless’ to control pump prices as ‘blatantly false’.
“For one, they should start looking at charges that local petroleum products are overpriced” he said.
Crisostomo cited the previous study by the umbrella group Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) which showed that local pump prices were overpriced by around P6.72 per liter at the close of 2010.
He said “For another, this should also serve as a very appropriate time for discussing the return of regulation in the downstream oil industry, and the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law”.
“If there’s a will, there’s a way. But obviously, the biggest sipsip in Malacañang is unwilling to confront the issue” he concluded.
“With the latest hike, as well as Noynoy’s claims that they are on top of the situation, we can say that he and the ‘Big 3’ are like brothers: dahil ang magnanakaw ay kapatid ng sinungaling (The thief is brother to the liar).”
This was the reaction of Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo on the latest oil price hike, which was implemented midnight Tuesday, and the continued inaction by the government of President Noynoy Aquino to control the ballooning price of local petroleum products.
The hike, which is the fourth this year, amounted to P1.00 per liter for diesel, and P0.75 per liter for gasoline. The previous hikes have been cited as the bases for petitions for increases in taxi, jeep, and bus fares. The taxi fare increase, which raises the flagdown rate to P40, already took effect yesterday.
“It is untrue that the Aquino government is doing everything they can to soften the impact of the hikes on the public. What is true is that they are doing everything except addressing the actual issue” said Crisostomo.
“Oil companies’ stocks of crude oil last for around three months, not one week. Assuming that they bought their latest stock last November, this means that the increases in the world market’s price of crude oil should only affect local pump prices next month” he explained.
“These weekly oil price hikes constitute nothing but blatant profiteering by the oil cartel at the expense of the Filipino people” concluded the youth leader.
He added that even if the four hikes for 2011 were to be discounted, local petroleum products continue to be overpriced. According to the militant umbrella group Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), local pump prices were overpriced by P6.72 per liter at the close of 2010.
“Yet Aquino continues to insist that there is no overpricing. Hindi lang siya nagbubulag-bulagan sa katotohanan, nagsisinungaling pa siya sa publiko (He isn’t just playing blind, he’s lying to the public)” concluded Crisostomo.
Mula sa Pambansang Tanggapan, meron ng mga ready-made ‘teasers’/mini-posters na may panawagan ng pagkilos sa Feb. 1 National Day of Youth Action laban sa pagtaas ng matrikula, presyo ng bilihin at mga pamasahe. Mag-email lamang sa firstname.lastname@example.org at banggitin kung .jpg file lang o pati .psd file ang kailangan, at ipapadala namin agad ang mga posters. Para makatipid, i-print ang isang kopya ng gustong (mga) disenyo at ipa-xerox nalang ang mga susunod na kopya.
The appointment of a partylist group’s national president as Noynoy Aquino’s ‘presidential advisor for political affairs’ has been called by a group of young workers, peasants, professionals, and students as ‘reward’ for supporting highly-unpopular policies and programs of the Aquino administration.
“Congratulations to Akbayan for its 180-degree turn-around. From claiming to be a staunch critic of transactional politics under Gloria Arroyo, they are now nothing more but a ‘rubber stamp’ for the current administration’s anti-poor policies” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
One such issue, according to Crisostomo, is the proposed MRT-LRT fare hikes, which has earned the ire of various sectors, especially workers and students in Metro Manila. He noted that while a growing number of groups and organizations have expressed their opposition to the increases, there hasn’t been a single statement from Akbayan in regards to the issue.
Anakbayan has also previously criticized Akbayan for its support of the government’s P29 billion cash dole-outs program, in which the latter noted that the former made a complete turn-around from its previous position that the dole-outs would have no impact on the roots of widespread poverty in the country.
“Kinakain na ng Akbayan ang lahat ng mga prinsipyo kuno nila. Pero siguro sumasarap yun dahil ang gamit nilang sawsawan ay yung mga matataas na posisyon sa gobyerno na nabingwit nila” (Akbayan is eating all the principles that they have claimed to possess. But we suppose it doesn’t taste bad because they serve it with the top gov’t posts that they have snagged as condiments) said the group’s spokesperson.
One of the groups’ previous Congress bets, Eta Rosales, has been named head of the Commission on Human Rights. One of their national officials, Joel Rocamorra, has been named head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Crisostomo added “But truth be told, we are no longer surprised. Our dealings with Akbayan’s youth arm have long taught us that they are nothing but political mercenaries”.
He cited the case of the University in the Philippines which hiked its tuition by 300% last 2007. While thousands of students in UP’s campuses nationwide walked out of their classes to protest the increases, organizations and a political party in UP Diliman which is affiliated with Akbayan expressed their support for it, calling it ‘timely’.
A group of young workers, professionals, and students has branded President Noynoy Aquino ‘Commuter Enemy #1’ for his part in the MRT-LRT fare hikes, as well as the recently-announced petitions for jeepney and bus fare hikes.
A group of Metro Manila bus operators has filed a petition to increase ordinary bus from P9 to P14 for the first 5 kilometers and from P1.85 to P2.55 every succeeding kilometer. For aircon buses, they have also petitioned an increase of P11 to P17, and P2.20 to P2.90.
“With all modes of mass transportation becoming more expensive, the millions of workers and students in Metro Manila can no longer escape the specter of bigger commuting costs and less money for food education, and other basic needs” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
According to the group, the MRT-LRT fare increases will consume as much as 12% to 15% on the monthly earnings of workers who earn P10,000 or less, the income group which comprises 52.8% of all regular MRT-LRT users.
Anakbayan further computed that this would result in the said workers having their half-year earnings reduced to P52,800. If the person is sending a child to college, in which the national average tuition for a semester now stands at P25,000, this means they only have P27,800 for six months’ worth of food and other basic needs.
“It’s easy for Noynoy to ask us ordinary commuters to stay calm when he has a new sports car to take him places. The rest of us have no alternatives outside of jeeps, buses, and the MRT-LRT” said the youth leader.
Yesterday, around a hundred youths under Anakbayan staged a ‘sit-down’ protest in the LRT-2 Legarda station near the University Belt as a continuation of their ‘Black Friday’ protest series, catching security personnel by surprise. According to Crisostomo, they will launch bigger actions next Friday.
Youth group Anakbayan today assailed the series of fare and oil price hikes, saying it would push many students in Metro Manila into a ‘drop-out or starve dilemma.
The militant group of young workers, professionals, and students are protesting the recently-approved hikes of the MRT and LRT, which reach a maximum of 100%. On top of that, oil firms increased the pump prices of gasoline and diesel by P0.75 and P1.00 per liter, respectively. Jeepney groups have previously petitioned for a P1 hike in the minimum fare of jeeps.
“As transportation costs skyrocket, parents and working students are left with less and less money for tuition and other enrollment costs” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
He cited a recently-released study by Newsweek which found that people with P10,000 or less monthly incomes constituted 52.8% of all regular (defined as using the train lines at least five times a week) passengers of the MRT and LRT, Anakbayan calculated that the MRT-LRT fare hikes would lead to a monthly expenditure of P1,200 monthly, leaving only a maximum of P8,800 monthly for other expenses such as food.
|Maximum monthly income||P10,000|
|Monthly MRT-LRT expenditures*||P1,200|
|Remaining monthly income||P8,800|
|Income per semester**||P52,800|
|Average tuition per semester***||P25,000|
|Final remaining income per semester||P27,800|
|* Assuming a P30 fare under new rates x (2 rides a day x 20 days a month)
** Assuming two semesters per year
*** Calculation from the Nat’l Union of Students in the Philippines
The group also calculated that if the said person is sending one of their children to a university, in which the nationwide average tuition per semester is at P25,000, then it would mean the person would only have P27,800 for non-transportation and non-tuition expenses every six months or half-semester.
“Does the Aquino administration expect us to exist on P27,800 for six months? I suppose being behind the wheel of a Porsche removes your grasp of reality” said Crisostomo.
The youth leader said “Noynoy’s refusal to stop the fare and other price hikes essentially dooms millions of Filipino youths to choose between dropping out of school, or starving to death”.
Anakbayan, along with other youth groups and personalities under the Strike the Hike movement, has vowed to intensify protests, including a march to Mendiola on the first of February. ###