“Pres. Aquino tried to stop these protests from erupting, but he is clearly unsuccessful.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s statement today, as it led various organizations in holding people’s protests and transport strikes throughout the country to condemn the overpricing in petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion in this.
Transport strikes were held in the National Capital Region, in Mindanao and in Southern Tagalog, while various forms of protests were held in different parts of the country.
In Metro Manila, progressive organizations massed up at different protest centers as early as 7:00 in the morning. These centers include Philcoa, Litex, National Housing Authority, Kamias-Kalayaan, Cubao and Monumento in Quezon City, Sta. Mesa, Delpan-Divisoria, Anda Circle and Quirino-Taft in Manila, and in Marikina, among other 20 areas.
Leaflets were distributed, speeches made and programs held in these areas. Passersby were given red ribbons which symbolize protest against a president whose symbol is the yellow ribbon. Noise barrage protests were held every hour in the protest centers.
“Despite Pres. Aquino’s divide-and-rule tactic against the transport sector and his repeated threats to drivers that franchises will be cancelled, workers, drivers and poor people carried on with today’s protests,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“That shows you just how people want an end to the suffering being inflicted by the Big 3 oil companies in overpricing their products and the Aquino government’s collusion in this scheme,” he added.
“We continue to fight for the demands that Pres. Aquino simply ignored in his so-called ‘dialogue’ with the transport sector last 09 September: an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil, the removal of VAT in petroleum products, and the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law,” Labog said.
“Junking the Oil Deregulation Law is most important, as this is the first step for the government to regulate oil prices and provide immediate relief to our workers and people who are suffering from poverty and hunger,” he added.
The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or Piston led the transport strike, while KMU was joined by other progressive organizations such as the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees or Courage, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay, Anakbayan, Gabriela, Migrante and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan.
“Pres. Aquino should not be so arrogant or naive as to think that these protests will subside in the coming days. The workers and people are just starting, and oil prices are bound to increase unabated in the coming weeks and months,” Labog said.
“We vow to continue making our voices heard on this issue until we get the immediate relief that we have been demanding and rightfully deserve,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson