Fight for urgent people’s demands amid rising oil prices

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

The profit-hungry oil companies and the tax-addict Duterte government are utterly callous in the face of plans to increase prices of fuel products by around ₱12 per liter next week. These planned increases are virtually criminal and will for certain bring greater hardships to the Filipino masses who are already burdened by skyrocketing prices and lack of money in their pockets.

People must go out in the streets and make their voices be heard and carry out different forms of mass actions to express their outrage and press with their urgent demands.

The broad masses can no longer accept the justification that oil companies have no other choice but to raise prices due to rising prices of imported crude, especially after news reports that Petron made ₱6.41 billion in profits last year, a 150% recovery in profits from 2020. They can no longer accept as well the Duterte regime’s refusal to even suspend tax collections given the fact that it has already collected more than ₱75 billion from oil taxes paid for by the people.

The broad democratic sectors must come together and take action to fight for their welfare and collectively raise the demand for an immediate rollback of fuel prices to pre-2022 levels and an immediate stop to the collection of excise and value-added taxes that are being passed on to consumers.

Jeepney, tricycle and other transport drivers, who lose more and more money when they ply their routes, are being left with no choice but to go on transport strike and demand fare increases. They are also demanding fuel subsidies but are also aware that this is easily depleted and would only accrue to oil companies. The broad masses of workers who have suffered from wage repression since 2018 and wage cuts since 2020 have no other recourse but to go on factory protests and strikes to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

All working sectors and professionals must also unite to raise their demand for lower prices of food and other commodities, higher salaries, economic subsidies, a stop to dumping of imported surplus agricultural goods, higher farmgate prices for agricultural produce, and other urgent economic demands.

While fighting for their urgent demands, they must also push for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law of 1998 which allows oil firms to set prices and guarantee them a constant stream of profits. They must also reject the proposal to bring back the Marcos-era Oil Price Stabilization Fund which in the past was also passed on to consumers and used to justify price increases.

They must also raise the demand for the nationalization of the oil industry where the state will control the importation, of crude oil and fuel products from the cheapest source, storage and distribution of petroleum commodities, and also raise the capacity of the country to refine crude oil and extract oil from local sources.

The demand for the nationalization of the oil industry is one of the key components of the CPP’s program for national industrialization. The CPP enjoins the people to support this call as long-term solution to the incessant problem of oil price increases.

Fight for urgent people’s demands amid rising oil prices