Confront onerous policies with massive protests

ANG BAYAN
21 January 2012


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The Communist Party of the Philippines stands in solidarity with the Filipino people in condemning foreign oil companies for raising the prices of petroleum products four times in merely 20 days. These oil price increases come on top of a hike in water rates of P2.335 per cubic meter starting January 1 and higher power rates imposed by companies owned big bourgeois compradors like the Lopez and Aboitiz families.

The CPP also condemns the US-Aquino regime for turning a deaf ear to the people’s sufferings, its intransigence in imposing the 12% Value-Added Tax on petroleum products and its continuing implementation of privatization and deregulation which adds to the Filipino people’s burdens. Particularly onerous to the people are the oil deregulation law, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (R.A. 9136) or EPIRA which has spurred hikes in power rates, and the law that privatizes water services.

In the face of these unceasing hardships imposed on the people, the CPP called on workers’ unions and people’s organizations to resist hikes in oil, water and power rates by launching huge protest actions. The CPP cited the mass actions launched by the Nigerian people who have recently been victimized by an oil price hike of close to 130% after the withdrawal of government oil subsidies. Nigerians in their numbers collectively waged strikes, work stoppages and demonstrations. After a week of protest actions, the Nigerian government effected a 35% reduction in fuel prices.

In the Philippines, the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) trooped to the Pilipinas Shell office in Makati City on January 11 to condemn the latest round of oil price hikes. Diesel prices rose by up to P1.50 per liter while gasoline prices were marked up by P1.75 per liter. Oil prices were earlier raised on January 3, with diesel prices hiked by 30 centavos per liter and gasoline, by 70 centavos per liter.

PISTON chair George San Mateo blasted the foreign oil cartel for exploiting conflicts in the Middle East to raise the prices of petroleum products artificially despite the absence of an actual war or a shortage in oil supplies. The regime has likewise been cashing in on the oil price hikes by collecting more taxes.