Civil society groups launch coalition vs oil price hikes
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers, church people, as well as business, consumer and activist groups joined forces on Monday, in launching the Coalition Against Oil Price Increases (CAOPI) to urge the Aquino administration to undertake all possible measures to rein in and lower oil prices.
In a statement, the coalition said it was not satisfied with the reaction of the Aquino administration to the rising fuel prices, following Palace pronouncements of rejecting calls for the reduction or suspension of the value added tax on petroleum products.
The group cited the necessity for urgent government action given unabated price spikes since the beginning of the year. As of last week, oil companies have jacked up prices of petroleum products 10 times as against the three times that prices were rolled back.
“We are on the verge of the highest local oil prices in history, and the government has not done much to address the problem. We gather here as consumers and as citizens, united in the common advocacy of bringing down oil prices. The Aquino government must act now. The people have had enough of high oil prices,” the group said.
The group said that it would be supporting any and all possible measures to bring down oil prices, from the reduction, suspension or removal of the VAT on oil, the review or repeal of the oil deregulation law and a probe into the pricing schemes of oil companies and a rollback in prices.
“It is not true that government is helpless. There are many options and possibilities for lowering oil prices. These range from short-term measures to medium and long-term proposals. We call on the Filipino people to rally behind these calls. We call on the people to let their voices be heard,” the group further stressed.
Listed convenors of the group included Marikina Councilor Joseph “Jojo” Banzon, University of the Philippines Professor Danilo Arao, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan, Donald Dee of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Elvira Medina of the National Council for Commuter Protection (NCCP), Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., former Negros Rep. Jacinto Paras, Bayan dela Cruz of the National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA), Sonny Africa of IBON, KMU vice-chair Sammy Malunes, Piston chair George San Mateo, Gabriela secretary general Lana Linaban, Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo, Kadamay secretary general Bea Arellano, KMP chair Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap.
With oil prices expected to remain high this week, the group said it was endorsing a planned noise barrage on March 30 to once again demand the government to exhaust all possible means to lower oil prices.
As of press time, however, oil companies have not yet announced any price movements for this week.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.