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[Workers Assess Noynoy Series] After one year under Aquino Oil cartel’s profits increase, transport workers’ income dwindle

“Under Aquino’s one year in office, transport workers reeled even more from lesser earnings, while the oil cartel reaped even bigger profits. For more than a year, Pres. Aquino did not lift a finger to curtail the overpricing of the Big 3 oil cartel.”

This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno ten days before Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), condemning the president for the worsening plight of transport workers while satisfying oil cartel’s greed for bigger profits.

According to transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide or Piston, the average price of diesel last year, P32 per liter, increased to around P48 per liter at its peak this year. A jeepney driver who drives for a day consumes around 30 liters of diesel. These data indicates that a jeepney driver’s already-meager income has even declined by around P480.

“While poor drivers barely take home coins for their family, big oil companies are reaping profits through overpricing. It is not surprising that Caltex, Petron and Shell rank as numbers 1, 2 and 5 among corporations who have biggest profits in 2010,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.

“Despite the already-widespread and still-growing clamor from the public, Pres. Aquino refused to scrap the VAT on petroleum products, investigate the overpricing of oil, and even show a modicum of willingness to study the Oil Deregulation Law. He is only too eager to please the oil cartel, which is proving to be one of his real bosses,” he added.

According to multisectoral alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or Bayan, average prices of diesel are overpriced by P7.50 per liter. Just this week, oil companies hiked the prices of gasoline by P2.00 per liter and diesel by P0.80 per liter.

“Pres. Aquino was only too happy to spread the illusion that the government cannot do anything against the international trend that is the surging oil prices. He did not show a bit of compassion in examining proposals to ease the transport workers’ and people’s burden from the non-stop oil price hikes,” Ustarez said.

“The Aquino government’s Pantawid Pasada is more of an attempt to fool the public and calm down the raging discontent than a sincere effort to give the people a relief from the oil price hikes. It is one of the biggest proofs that this government is ineffective in addressing the workers’ and people’s increasing poverty and hunger,” he added.

Reference Person: 
Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson
Contact information: 

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