MANILA, Sept. 19, 2011— An organization of Church and labor leaders has called on the Aquino administration to take necessary measures that would alleviate the burden from soaring oil prices.
Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, convenor of the Church People-Workers Solidarity, said the government should do something to mitigate the effect of fuel price to domestic prime commodities.
He said the government should also attend to the demands of the transport groups which staged a strike on Monday as the global market continue to observe the spiraling cost of imported oil.
“Oil price has increased more than 20 times since January 2011, and this is causing added burden not only to drivers and operators but to workers, peasants, fisherfolks, and their families,” Alminaza said.
“In a situation where workers receive very little wages, the unabated oil price hikes erode the value of our workers’ income since prices of basic commodities also shoot up. The effect is far worse for workers whose jobs and income are both irregular,” he added.
Transport groups are calling for P9.00 per liter rollback of price of all oil products, as overpricing in oil prices since last year continues “due to monopoly” of some oil firms and the government’s deregulation policy.
Alminaza is also concerned over reports that both oil companies and the government are raking in billions in profits and revenues at the expense of the ordinary consumers.
According to Ibon Foundation, an independent research institution, increases in oil prices are driving inflation. It also said the profits of the oil firms since 2001 have totaled to P141.7 B in 2010.
The government has also been getting revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil, according to a study by Ibon.
“Profit at the expense of the poor is immoral and unjust. The Church is very clear in its teachings that the well-being of our toiling brothers and sisters should come first before profit. Government must regulate oil industry to moderate the greed of private oil firms. The welfare of the majority must be prioritized,” Alminaza said.
Meanwhile, Garry Martinez, spokesperson of the CWS, also reacted to the threat of Malacañang and the police that they will arrest those who will join the transport strike.
“The transport strike is a legitimate form of action of the people, so that those in power will be able to listen to the people’s demands,” said Martinez.
“The Aquino administration must show the political will to stop the big oil companies from imposing unreasonable prices,” he added. [CBCPNews]