“He won’t do it willingly.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s statement that he is willing to impose price controls on petroleum products if necessary. KMU calls on the workers and people to join protests in the coming weeks to put pressure on the President to control oil prices.
Aquino made the statement while speaking to reporters in the 25th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Information Agency, February 1.
“Pres. Aquino only sought to assuage the public’s fears with that statement. If he is really sincere in being open to controlling oil prices, he should have done that long ago,” Elmer Labog, KMU chairperson, said.
“Only our protests can force Pres. Aquino to control oil prices. We are calling on workers, drivers, and the public to join our protests in the coming weeks to force the government to impose price controls on oil products,” he added.
In the same event, the president announced another tranche of Pantawid Pasada subsidy for public utility drivers as well as his government’s drive to rid roads of “colorum” bus operators and “kotong” cops.
“He hopes to drown the drivers’ primary concern over increasing oil prices with secondary concerns. It is the soaring prices of petroleum products which significantly reduce drivers’ incomes,” he said.
Since January, prices of oil have increased by around PhP 2 and PhP 1 per liter of gasoline and diesel, respectively.
“Imposing price controls on petroleum products is long overdue. Pres. Aquino has simply been playing deaf to our calls for the junking of deregulation in the oil industry and for government controls in oil prices,” Labog said.
“His only response to a year of protests against deregulation in the oil industry and for price controls on petroleum products is to issue another promise,” he added.
KMU has called for a national day of protest against the overpricing of oil products in the first weeks of March.