Transport group seeks government action vs rising oil prices

Published by rudy Date posted on March 18, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  Party list group 1 Utak sought yesterday government intervention in the rising prices of oil.

Vigor Mendoza, 1 Utak chairman, said jeepney drivers and operators are taking the brunt of the increasing oil prices.

“Historically, passenger load drops by as much as 30 percent when summer vacation starts if this is coupled by continued high cost of fuel,” he said.

Mendoza said transport operators would have no recourse but to increase fares.

Based on a straight-line method of computation, a P12 minimum fare for jeepneys is not far fetched, he added.

Mendoza said they have submitted to the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation and Communication alternative actions to mitigate fare increases.

Among them is a review of the oil pricing mechanism and assistance for transport groups to set up fuel stations to avail of bulk pricing, he added.

1-Utak also called on the government to put a stop to illegal and out-of-line operations that eat up the income of legitimate franchise holders, and streamline government processes in the registration of public utility vehicles.

They also proposed the use of windfall collections from the value added tax (VAT) to assist transport operators to shift to cleaner and cheaper fuels like LPG, CNG, bio-methane, and for government to put up oil storage facilities in the provinces to reduce transshipment costs.

Fisherfolk to hold protest

A fisherfolk alliance will hold a nationwide protest on March 31 to oppose the unbridled increases in the prices of petroleum products.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will protest the latest round of increases in the prices of petroleum products.

Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chairman, said their national office had issued a memorandum urging their chapters all over the country to stage a one-day fish strike on March 31 to pressure President Aquino to stop oil companies from exploiting the crisis through uncontrolled hikes in the prices of petroleum products.

The memorandum for “No Fish Day” has already been dispatched to Pamalakaya chapters in Northern Luzon and Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Negros Island and Panay island, Far South Mindanao and Northern Mindanao.

Hicap said the March 31 No Fish Day is the beginning of more protest actions from marginal fisherfolk.

The memorandum also urged Pamalakaya chapters to convince operators of commercial fishing vessels to support and join the nationwide No Fish Day on March 31.

Hicap said the fisherfolk who regularly consume 10 liters of gasoline or diesel per fishing trip are suffering due to the intermittent increases in the prices of petroleum products.

“We ask the operators of commercial fishing vessels to join the small fisher people in this fight against this national exploitation,” he said.

Hicao said the cost of petroleum products eats up 80 percent of the total production cost per fishing trip.

About 313,985 owners of small fishing boats have been affected by the series of oil price hikes all over the country, he added.

Pedro Gonzalez, Pamalakaya national vice chairman, said they are asking the administration to immediately impose price controls on petroleum products.

“It should compel oil companies – mainly Petron, Shell and Chevron – to open their books of accounts to allow the government to identify their practices of overpricing and other forms of price manipulation,” he said.

Gonzalez said the government should also remove from the current prices of petroleum products the amount representing overpriced cost. Overpricing reaches P6.72 per liter, according to recent study.

“It should also recover the P10.5 billion in total tax credits and incentives given to oil companies, and remove the 12 percent VAT imposed on oil products,” he said. – Perseus Echeminada, Rhodina Villanueva, (The Philippine Star)

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