Be it drivers or commuters, the masses should not be the ones to shoulder the oil crisis! Demand oil price rollbacks and rescind the Oil Deregulation Law!

This article is available in Pilipino

‘Which is more important? The welfare of the commuters who would be forced to pay a higher fare or that of the drivers who are already tormented by the spike petroleum product price?’ This is the flawed logic the US-Duterte regime hawks to excuse his impotence in the face of weekly oil price hikes. They claim that the problem could not be resolved as they are still weighing factors down. But the truth is the interests of the drivers and passengers do not run contrary from each other. If the government is sincere in solving the oil issue, it should have been overturning the deregulation of the oil industry which permits the unimpeded accumulation of superprofit by big oil corporations and not mustering yet new ways to bleed the Filipino people dry.

From the beginning, pitting the destitute against his own rank has been the anti-poor US-Duterte regime’s mark. Be it the pandemic problem, agricultural crisis or the current oil crisis. To solve the problem, first of all, the people must unite in shattering this fallacious logic. They must assert that the masses should not be the ones to shoulder the burden of the oil crisis – not the transportation sector nor the consumers. Instead, they must direct the fight against oil cartels and the government that allows this system.

It is not sustainable to present fare hikes as solution every time petroleum prices surge. Fare hikes would only worsen the living conditions of tens of millions of Filipino families mired by poverty who, even before this, could only barely subsist and who are still deprived of substantial wage increases. Also, this would not genuinely address the drivers’ demands since their families are also commuters who would also be affected by these additional charges.

Even distribution of fuel subsidy is a temporary reprieve at the most. Furthermore, under the US-Duterte regime, this will only be weaponized to allay the people’s struggle and will be used as an excuse for the government’s lack of concrete steps in ending deregulation. Essentially, because the consumers do not have the capacity to pay these businessmen, the government will intervene and pay for them. The fuel subsidy scheme encourages big corporations to continue with their arbitrary pricing while the government exploits the public coffers to guarantee that products will still be bought and profits will still line the capitalists’ pockets no matter how high the prices will be.

The immediate demand must be to call for the suspension of the excise taxes and EVAT on oil to lower its market prices. This must happen along with wage increases to fortify the consumer capacity to purchase as well as allocation of fuel subsidies and other types of support for the transport sector. However, for long term solutions, the masses must fight for the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law and clamor for the nationalization of the oil industry. This will be the only way for the industry to serve the people. As long as the oil industry is controlled by a ruling few and is treated as a business, the oil crisis will not be solved.

Call for oil price rollbacks and the suspension of excise taxes on petroleum products!
Junk the Oil Deregulation Law!

Be it drivers or commuters, the masses should not be the ones to shoulder the oil crisis! Demand oil price rollbacks and rescind the Oil Deregulation Law!
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