Butuan transport groups join nationwide protest vs oil price hike

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/15 March) – More than 70 vehicles made up of Multicabs and tricycles from different militant and transport groups here participated in the nationwide simultaneous call to protest against the series of oil price hikes and the Oil Deregulation Law.

“What we have today is an opening salvo for a much bigger mobilization,” said Avelino Javier, spokesperson for Bayan in Caraga. “That is why what we have now is a protest, not in a form of a transport strike. Here in Caraga is a caravan protest against oil price hike, overpricing and scraping of the Oil Deregulation Law,” he added.

Javier pointed out that the current Aquino administration should be concerned and pay attention to the present situation of the people as a result of the frequent oil price hike.

“The recent oil price hikes have no concrete justification. It is not only excessive and exploitative but also immoral. Amidst the poverty situation of the people, such increase would serve as anti-industrialization and anti-development,” he said.

Angelo Tello, chairman of Butuan Eastbound Multicab Operators Drivers Association (BEMODA) and regional coordinator for the Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON), said in a speech during the caravan that there is a dire need to junk the oil deregulation law and create a new regulating body that would return the control of oil price to the government.

“The President has the executive power to help out the people and the people will rally behind him if he can make that happen,” he said.

He said PISTON is pushing for a one-peso fare hike, unlike other transport groups which are suggesting as much as two pesos. He assured that if fuel price would roll back, his group is ready to go back to the old fare.

The different groups during the caravan called on support for Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casino’s House Bill 4335, which calls for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law.

They also added that plans are underway for a much bigger mass action and strike if the government will not take notice and act on the current excessive oil prices. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)