Farmers, transport, and consumer sectors protest 9th OPH, demand for Congress special session to decide on oil excise tax suspension

Farmers and transport sectors led by party-list Anakpawis are protesting the latest round of oil price hikes that resulted in the following increase effective today, March 1: Gasoline – P0.90-P1.00 per liter; Diesel – P0.70-P0.80 per liter; Kerosene – P0.70-P0.80 per liter; and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) – P10-P15 per kilo.

Latest DOE data show that year-to-date adjustments stand at a total net increase of P7.95 per liter for gasoline, P10.20 per liter for diesel, and P9.10 per liter for kerosene. Sectors are worried that prices of petroleum products and basic commodities will further increase as a result of the Russia-Ukraine tension.

Anakpawis party-list stresses the demand for the government to decisively regulate the downstream oil industry. Anakpawis chairperson Rafael Mariano also said suspending the excise tax on oil products is also immediate to slash oil prices and give economic relief to consumers. “The government must have a strong political will to address the nonstop oil price hikes burdening Filipinos,” Mariano said as he joined protesters at the Boy Scout Circle in Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

Groups Anakpawis and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas also issued warning to companies not take advantage of Russia-Ukraine situation to jack up prices of food and other commodities. Manufacturers of bread, instant noodles announced that they would likely increase prices due to the situation in Russia, a major exporter of wheat and corn. “May stock pa dapat ng wheat (trigo) at mais ang mga local manufacturer. Sa katunayan, US at hindi Russia ang pangunahing pinag-inaangkatan ng wheat ng Pilipinas. Gayunpaman, noong pagpasok pa lang ng Enero 2022, nagbadya na ang Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ng global food inflation na pinakamataas mula 2011. Kasama sa mga nagtataasan ng presyo ang meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils, at asukal. Tumindi rin lalo ang food insecurity noong 2021 dahil sa mga epekto ng kalamidad at COVID-19.”

Mariano further said: “Bawat pagtaas ng presyo ng produktong petrolyo ay dagdag pahirap sa mga konsyumer, manggagawa, magsasaka at maralita. Dahil sa walang tigil na OPH, tumaas ng husto ang gastos sa produksyon ng mga magsasaka dahil na napakamahal na presyo ng abono/fertilizer. Lumiit pang lalo ang kita ng mga mangingisda dahil nabawasan ang pagbyahe nila sa laot at gayundin ang mga tsuper at driver na wala na halos naiuuwing kita sa kanilang pamilya dahil sa napakamahal na presyo ng krudo at gasolina.”

The former party-list representative and agrarian reform secretary said the granting of subsidies and ayuda for affected sectors is imperative. Anakpawis is demanding P10,000 cash aid and P15,000 production subsidies.

Labor leader and Makabayan senatorial aspirant Elmer Bong Labog also joined the protest to show his solidarity to sectors affected by the latest OPH. ###

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