Militant transport groups in GenSan, Koronadal, Digos join Monday’s nationwide strike

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 Sept) —  Militant transport groups in this city and  neighboring provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur are joining Monday’s  nationwide transport strike against rising fuel prices.

Roy Sande, regional coordinator of transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), said Friday thousands of drivers and operators have already signified to join the transport strike.

He said the strike will be centered in this city, Koronadal City in South Cotabato and Digos City in Davao del Sur.

“We’re urging all concerned sectors to join us in compelling the national government to address the worsening plight of our transport sector by pushing for the immediate rollback of the fuel prices,”  Sande said in a press conference.

In this city, Sande said members of transport group Transport Integrated for Restructuring of Economic Services (Tires)-Piston will start to converge early dawn on Monday in six major mass-up points around the city.

He said the identified mass-up points are located at the entry and exit points of the city and at the city proper. Sande said the striking transport operators and driver will also be joined by members of sectoral umbrella organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Ryan Lariba, secretary-general of Bayan-Socsksargen, said majority of the residents in the area are currently suffering from the impact of the “unjust overpricing and twice a week adjustments of prices on oil product by oil companies.”

“(The) incessant oil price hikes have brought tremendous burden and have become unbearable for majority of the people. Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has said that for every P1/liter increase of the oil products, (it triggers) an increase of 0.10 percent to 0.14 percent in the inflation rate” he said in a statement.

Citing studies, Lariba noted that fuel price increases imposed by the country’s top three oil firms – Shell, Caltex, Petron – from January 2008 to July 2011 were overpriced by P9.

“We reiterate our demands to the national government for the immediate repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and the lifting of the 12 percent value-added tax on our oil products. The people also deserve a P9/liter immediate fuel price rollback,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)