Statement of Solidarity for the March 31, 2011 Transport Strike
The Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT) expresses its firm solidarity to striking transportation workers today to call for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and the scrapping of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on oil products.
It is unfortunate that we could not join our brothers and sisters in the streets today as we have already set off our own calendar of activities for the oil price crisis campaign. We, however, look forward to joining hands in the next few weeks as we fully understand that only through a sustained, united, broad and nationwide campaign can we really achieve our goals.
We take exception to warnings voiced out by Malacanang that such mass actions by transport workers are illegal (specially when effective) and will result to the revocation of franchises. Such scare tactics will not cow us into giving up our rights specially now when government is virtually doing nothing to help.
The discounts being offered by the government is not enough to alleviate the plight of transport workers in this time of grave crisis. The discounts amounting to P1,800 for buses, P1,050 for jeepneys and P180 tricycles per month will only be good for 60-65% of the average monthly fuel consumption. Besides, these discounts will still be sourced from the VAT.
The PMT maintains that in order for government to provide relief to transport workers and resolve skyrocketing prices of petroleum products in the country, it must:
1. Rollback local prices of fuel to December ’10 levels and stop (freeze) any further price increases. We believe that there is no reason for local oil companies to increase prices despite the increase in world trade futures prices due to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
2. Remove the Value Added Tax on all petroleum products. This will result to further rollback in prices by at least P5. This will also be across-the-board meaning other sections of the transport industry (trucks, taxicabs, vans, AUVs, civil aviation, marine transport, etc.) will also be given relief.
3. Undertake government-to-government supply deals with nearby oil producing countries (Indonesia, Malaysia) or countries known to supply cheaper oil (Venezuela). This way, supply worries, which lead to speculative increases, will be eased.
4. Direct local oil companies to open their books to public scrutiny. With this we can surely prove that oil companies have manipulated prices of petroleum products in the country.
5. Repeal the Oil Deregulation Law. The past 23 years under deregulation is proof that it will not stabilize, much more lower prices of petroleum products. It only serves to strengthen the local oil cartel and allow oil companies to extract great profits at the expense of the Filipino people.
We call on transport workers and all poor working masses to unite.
Scrap the VAT on oil products!
Junk the Oil Deregulation Law!