We, the undersigned, are alarmed and enraged by the inaction of President Benigno Aquino III amid the spate of oil price increases. We demand that government immediately intervene to stop the unreasonable oil price hikes, bring down the prices of petroleum products, and control oil prices.
Excessive and escalating oil prices directly affect the livelihood of many Filipinos – from the jeepney drivers to the small and medium businesses. Its domino effect is now being felt with increases in transportation fares and prices of basic goods including food, among others. High oil prices will surely aggravate the already chronic poverty in the country. Worse, allegations of overpricing and cartelization persist, highlighting the serious flaws of the Oil Deregulation Law.
Instead of taking a proactive stance, the Aquino administration has instead chosen to adopt a defeatist mode. Again we are being told that oil prices are beyond the control of government and that the problem is being felt not only in the Philippines but worldwide.
We refuse to accept the excuse that government is helpless. While it cannot control global prices, the Aquino administration can effectively intervene to ensure cheaper prices. Concrete steps can be taken, including:
One, impose a moratorium on more oil price hikes, which the President can do due to the extraordinary situation of high oil prices undermining public and national interests. Two, immediately bring down oil prices by removing, suspending or reducing the regressive 12% value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products. And three, address overpricing by oil companies and regulate local prices by and repealing the oppressive Oil Deregulation Law.
The President, with his vast influence and power, can certainly fast-track the measures if only he will treat them with utmost urgency and priority. Several bills have already been filed in Congress by legislators from various political parties seeking to either amend or scrap the oil VAT and Oil Deregulation Law.
All it takes to implement these urgent policy reforms is strong political will to protect the interest of ordinary consumers as well as the domestic economy. We call on President Aquino and the leadership of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the Senate to immediately act on pending proposals to address the issue of high and escalating oil prices.
The President must act now and the people will continue to pressure him and the entire government until they address the urgent problem of excessive oil prices.
Finally, we envision an oil industry that is nationalized, free from foreign monopoly control, and truly serves the interests of the country and our people.
List of convenors and supporters:
· Congresswoman Mitos Magsaysay, First District, Zambales
· Mr. Donald Dee, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)
· Ms. Elvira Medina, President, National Council for Commuter Protection (NCCP)
· Mr. Bayan dela Cruz, President, National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA)
· Cong. Jacinto Paras, former Congressman, First District, Negros Oriental
· Councilor Joseph “Jojo” Banzon, First District, Marikina City
· Mr. Francisco Mariazeta III, Barangay Chairman, Barangay 413, Sampaloc, Manila
· Councilor Don Juan “DJ” Bagatsing, Fourth District, Manila
· Prof. Danilo Arao, VP for Public Affairs, UP Diliman
· Mr. Sonny Africa, Executive Director, IBON Foundation Inc.
· Mr. Leon Peralta, President, Anti-Trapo Movement
· Congressman Teddy Casiño, Bayan Muna (BM)
· Congressman Rafael Mariano, Anakpawis partylist
· Congresswoman Luzviminda Ilagan, Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP)
· Fr. Oliver Estor, SOLT
· Fr. Delfo Canceran, OP
· Rev. Marisol Villalon, UMC
· Fr. Noel Rosas, O. Carm.
· Fr. Dindo Ranojo, IFI
· Fr. Efren Reyes, MJ
· Fr. Dave Tabo-oy, ECP
· Rev. Homar Destajo, UCCP
· Mr. Renato Reyes, Secretary General, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)
· Mr. Sammy Malunes, VP for Federation Affairs, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)
· Mr. George San Mateo, President, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON)
· Mr. Antonio Flores, Spokesperson, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
· Mr. Fernando Hicap, President, Pambansang Lakas ng mga Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)
· Ms. Lana Linaban, Secretary General, Gabriela
· Ms. Bea Arellano, Secretary General, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)
· Mr. Vencer Crisostomo, Chairperson, Anakbayan
· Mr. Nardy Sabino, Secretary General, Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)
· Mr. Roy Velez, Chairperson, Bayan – National Capital Region (NCR)
· President, United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) union
· President, Wyeth Philippines union
· President, PLDT supervisors union
· Issa Baguisi, Secretary General, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
· Ms. Fatima Villanueva, President, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Sentral na Konseho ng mga Mag-aaral
· Mr. Ricky España, President, EARIST Institute Student Government
· UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences Student Council
· UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters Student Council
· Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (Kasama sa UP)
· Alternative Students Alliance for Progress – Katipunan ng mga Progresibong Mag-aaral ng Bayan (ASAP-Katipunan) – UP Manila
· Katipunan ng mga Mag-aaral at Organisasyon (Kamao) – EARIST
· Sandigan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (Samasa) – PUP
· STAND-UP – UP Diliman
· DAG Trucking Services
· Group of Unified Youth for Change
· Fr. Rene Ventajar, CP
· Sr. Nympha Que, MMS
· Ms. Jazminda Lumang, Educators’ Forum for Development
· Mr. Apolinario Valdez, President, Bagong Barrio Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association
· Bishop Lito Cruz, IFI
· Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani
· Congressman Winnie Castelo, Second District, Quezon City
· Congresswoman Trisha Bonoan-David, Fourth District, Manila
· Mr. Ricky Papa, President, Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Operators (ACTOO)
· Mr. Alejandro Mangune, President, Batasan Hills Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (BATODA)
· Mr. Emil Obcemia, Housing and Advocacy Program, Caritas Manila Inc.
· Ms. Shell Mendoza, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Phils.
· Sr. Agneta Lauzon, Kilusang Makabayang Ekonomya (KME)
· Mr. Peter Ong, Barangay Chairman, Barangay 9 Zone 1, Manila