Martes, Setyembre 11, 2012

Transport workers call oil price review body’s findings pre-fabricated and bogus, vow to continue fight

Press Release
September 10, 2012
Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon

Transport workers call oil price review body’s findings 
pre-fabricated and bogus, vow to continue fight

In a public presentation for transport groups held today at the UP Diliman School of Economics, the Independent Oil Price Review Committee (IOPRC) refuted claims that petroleum products in the country where unfairly priced as they exonerated oil companies from allegations of amassing excessive profits. The body also said they saw “nothing extraordinary” with local fuel price movements noting responsiveness to world market price changes. 

Meanwhile, members of the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT) and allied organizations protested outside to condemn what they called “pre-fabricated and bogus findings and recommendations by the committee”. According to them “the self-professed independent body turned out to be another instrument to cover up abuses being perpetrated by oil companies and defend the bankrupt oil industry deregulation policy. The only “good thing” to come out of this shenanigan is that it exposed, once again, the collusion between government and oil companies to cause the suffering of the Filipino masses.”

“We are not surprised. We have heard such conclusions time and again from Sec. Almendras and his predecessors at the DOE. What would you expect from a body created, tasked and funded by the DOE?” said Roger Javinal PMT spokesperson. 
“But we are dismayed with the esteemed members of the IOPRC for allowing themselves to be used as dummies to justify the exploitation of oil companies and rationalize the inaction of their cohorts in government. We had expected more from them, specially Prof. Diokno.” continued Javinal.

“To find the oil deregulation policy successful in promoting fair prices by the simple increase in the number of companies who sell petroleum products in the country is garbage and an utter insult to the Filipino people’s intelligence. The high-faluting way the IOPRC presented its findings and recommendations, without caution of probable illusions, false-relationships and biases the techniques or approaches employed may lead to, smacks of dishonesty and deception,” explained Larry Pascua, PMT Secretary General and representative to the public presentation.

“How can they say that that there was no overpricing and profiteering when they did not even get to study the real price of oil based on production costs, when they did not even get to scrutinize inventory data and supply contracts of local companies and their dummies, when they did not bother to delve into the dynamics of international monopoly corporations? Aside from these necessary issues, the body completely disregarded public welfare in the conduct of the review, to us the only acceptable bias. Prof. Diokno is even quoted recommending the deregulation of public transport to allow them automatic fare adjustments callously declaring that a monthly P.50 increase in fare won’t be too much of a burden. Such statements make us think that maybe this stint with the Almendras committee made him and the rest of the members for life?” added Pascua.

“These findings and recommendations are unbelievable and unacceptable. Illusions peddled by this administration of a “tuwid na daan” and “kayo ang boss ko” governance continue to erode. The only real and meaningful change can only come from the masses’ direct political action. We will continue to protest against fuel products overpricing and profiteering. We will continue to demand for the scrapping of the oil deregulation law and VAT on oil products," concluded Pascua.

Huwebes, Agosto 9, 2012

Letter from the PMT Sec Gen

August 8, 2012

To all comrades and friends:

Torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc to the lives of our poor workers in National Capital Region and other parts of Luzon. Classes and work have been ordered suspended as almost 80% of Metro Manila roads were submerged in deep flood. The whole of Metro Manila is practically at a standstill.

In Marikina City, the river water level breached and continues to be above critical level. Due to this, more than 5,000 families have been relocated to evacuation centers.

Our members from the tricycle sector in the City who rely on day-to-day work have not been spared. In fact the 2,000 families who depend in these three-wheeled livelihood have been doubly hit. While floods have forced them out of their homes, floods have also denied them work and income. Tricycles soaked under water will take days before they are operated again.

It is in this light that we seek your kind intervention for our members. We would like to request for relief goods which can help them cope and survive these trying times.

Your compassion is earnestly appreciated. Thank you very much.

Larry Pascua
Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT)

Miyerkules, Pebrero 1, 2012

Press Release - PMT Rally at DOE, Feb 1, 2012

Press release
February 1, 2012

DOE’s Oil Price Monitoring Team

Transport group presses for public welfare framework in review of oil prices and industry

Militant transport workers from the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT) demonstrated outside the compound of the Department of Energy (DOE) to call on the newly-formed Oil price Independent Review Committee (IRC) to put public welfare above oil companies’ profits as they investigate whether or not oil prices are overpriced and oil companies have abused the Oil Deregulation Law.

The PMT welcomed the creation of the IRC but warned against staging the review to justify the continued implementation of RA 8479 or Oil Deregulation Law. They asked the personalities who have agreed to be part of the IRC to conduct an honest examination of the documents to be provided by oil companies and operation of the industry under a deregulated environment with the view of protecting the masses’ interest and welfare.

Larry Pascua, Sec. Gen. of the PMT, stressed “The review must be done to provide justice to our suffering transport workers and masses, in general. Oil companies continue to rake in super profits as evidenced by their sustained stay atop the top grossing companies in the country while the majority of Filipinos carry the burden of spiralling prices of basic commodities due to pressure from high oil prices.”

“This so-called independent review must detach itself from PNoy’s adherence to the oil deregulation policy and his view that it still needs to be strengthened further. Competition or free market and even fair prices are but myths in an industry dominated and controlled by the Big 3 cartel. The IRC must not let itself be used by the administration to simply rationalize and uphold oil industry deregulation like what other reviews have done in the past.”

According to the PMT the enactment of RA 8479 in 1998 only bolstered the control of the Big 3 over the country’s oil industry. The absence of government role in oil pricing set the stage for rampant overpricing and profiteering as oil companies respond quickly and more fully to upward international price movements while being slow and unresponsive to decreases. In 2005, instead of going against such trend, government joined the bandwagon by imposing the Value-Added Tax on petroleum products. Together, VAT and deregulation has devastated the lives of our transport workers and the masses, in general.

“13 years of bitter experience with oil industry deregulation is enough proof for the IRC to propose the scrapping of RA 8479 and also the VAT on oil products. In fact, globally, deregulation and the whole neo-liberal agenda has failed to the secure the lives of the working masses while concentrating wealth to a very small minority. The first and foremost consideration of the IRC in the conduct of the review must be public welfare unless they want to challenge the ire of impoverished people. The PMT will be vigilant in monitoring the development of this review. The IRC members would not want to be on the wrong side of history” concluded Pascua.###