Despite efforts to sabotage
Nation-wide transport strike of drivers and the people successful – KMU
Kilusang Mayo Uno declared the success of the nation-wide transport strike
of the drivers and various sectors today.
“We congratulate the people and the drivers for the successful strike,”
said Elmer Labog, KMU Chairperson.
“The Arroyo regime tried to belittle the effects of the strike, sabotage
it through crafted stories, and violently disperse the protesters. But
only to its failure.
“No matter what she does, Arroyo cannot dismiss the legitimate bases for
holding such a strike. She cannot cloud the real issue of her
accountability to the spate of oil price hikes the people endure.”
Labog cited reports of PISTON (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at
Operator Nationwide), that 70% or more of Metro Manila jeeps participated
in the strike. In provinces like Cagayan De Oro, Gen. Santos, Bukidnon,
Davao, Kidapawan, Iligan, Bacolod, Naga, Legaspi, and Sorsogon, as early
as seven in the morning, 95-100% of jeeps were already on strike.
“The government now seems to rush the implementation of its bogus programs
such as the P2 fuel subsidy for drivers, the cash assistance program, and
the wage adjustment through the wage boards.
“They would not resort to these deceiving acts if not for the people's
collective and militant action,” Labog said.
Causing the crisis
But Labog said that these are not the rightful solutions for the people.
“The strike has imparted widely to the people that the government can do
something concretely, and we do not have to endure the crisis. Like
removing the VAT from petroleum products, scrapping the Oil Deregulation
Law, and imposing a price control on oil.
“The Anakpawis partylist and allied lawmakers have already filed the
necessary bills to effect the removal of VAT on oil, and the repeal of the
Oil Deregulation Law. Why can't Arroyo certify these as urgent bills?
“On the other hand, Arroyo easily yields to the demands of the big
capitalists. She already serves as the spokesperson of the big oil
companies with their excuses – that they cannot do anything because they
just conform to world oil prices and they need to catch up with their
But Labog contested that the oil cartel controls majority of the world's
oil supply and distribution, so they can easily dictate the price of oil
in the world and in many countries, for the sake of their superprofits
that grow by billions each year.
P125 wage hike
“With the steady skyrocketing of the price of oil and primary commodities
today, the people suffer more and more.
“In the midst of this crisis, we need more than ever a P125
across-the-board wage increase.”###
KMU blames big oil companies’ superprofits and monopoly of the industry
“The transport strike on Monday is not just our drivers’ strike, it is
also a people’s strike.”
KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog announced that workers will participate in
full force on Monday’s nation-wide transport strike.
“All of us are disturbed by the incessant oil price hikes, so all of us
are called on to actively partake and voice out our grievances.
“We should not pardon the drivers who will join the strike. They don’t
bother us at all. What annoy us are Gloria and her colleagues in the big
On the day of the transport strike, KMU will also hold factory walk-outs,
noise barrage, and other forms of protest in various protest centers in
Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
Labog also denounced LTFRB Chair Thompson Lantion for recent reports of
him asking for the cancellation of the strike.
“Until now, the Arroyo government has not yet done anything substantial to
stop the never-ending oil price hikes. Who are they to stop the people’s
strike? The people have suffered and have been enraged long enough,
nothing can prevent them from pouring out on the streets,” Labog said.
Profit and monopoly
Labog also tagged as the primary culprit the greedy control and
opportunism of big foreign oil companies on the oil industry.
“The oil cartel controls 90 percent of the oil production, supply, and
distribution in the world. They can easily dictate the price of oil.”
Labog also cited that the profit of the top four oil companies in the
world amounted to a mammoth 98.8 billion dollars, and their profits rise
consistently each year.
“These big foreign oil companies are the only ones who benefit from every
increase in the price of oil. And they now say that they cannot afford to
grant a modest P125 wage hike?”
Labog maintained that
appropriate responses to the oil price hike are the removal of VAT on
petroleum products, the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law, the imposition
of a moratorium on any increase in the price of oil, the nationalization
of the oil industry, and the passage of the P125 legislated
across-the-board wage hike.###
Math of the transport strike today
May 12, 2008
When the Arroyo government allowed jeepney drivers to collect P7.50 as the
minimum fare a few years ago, diesel was at P26 per liter. Now diesel
costs P42 and the minimum fare is still P7.50. The drivers take a cut in
their earnings every time the price of diesel increases.
With the fuel cost jumping by 62% and inflation leaping to a 3-year high,
you sometimes wonder how the drivers make both ends meet. If they were
owners of IPPs (power generators) they would have simply added the
increases in the cost of diesel to the generation charge via the so-called
GRAM (or Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism), and it would all be legal.
But drivers are not as special as the IPPs and they cannot do that without
their licenses and franchises revoked. So today they mount a transport
strike as a means of redressing their grievances.
But the strange thing — from the point of view of a hard-nosed businessman
— is that they are not demanding an increase in the minimum fare!. Why? As
PISTON spokesman George San Mateo explained it in the presscon last
Saturday, they do not want to add to the burden of the people by charging
higher new minimum fare.
Instead they want to have diesel at reduced prices by asking Arroyo to
remove the taxes and tariffs on diesel and related products. That would
reduce in a big way the cost of diesel, and drivers can recover some
amount of their previous incomes. They also want the oil deregulation law
Min.fare - Cost of diesel
P7.50 - P26 - a few years ago
P7.50 - P42 - today
0 - increase in minimum fare
+ 16 - increase in cost of diesel (62%)
^ - meantime, cost of living has made a quantum leap
At least P10 — cost could be reduced If taxes and tariffs are removed
Will Arroyo understand the simple math? Or will she wait for drivers to be
driven to use more forceful ways to redress their grievances before she
understands the very simple math?