Monday, April 18, 2005

NR0418:Transport strike directed against GMA

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release April 18, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Transport strike unmistakable sign of disgust and discontent against Macapagal-Arroyo administration - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the widely successful transport strike launched nationwide by transport group PISTON, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and people's organizations under Bayan Muna and progressive party-lists including Anakpawis should give the Macapagal-Arroyo administration pause. He said that reports say that the strike has paralyzed 85-90% of all transportation in major thoroughfares and crippling most others.

"The success of these actions are not only because of the massive outrage of public transport drivers and commuters against the endless oil price hikes - it's also due to the disgust of consumers and the general public against the inutility of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in stopping the OPHs in the one hand, and its refusal to raise wages and salaries," he said.

Drivers of jeepney, taxi, tricycle, pedicab and trucks plying 11 major routes and 40 secondary routes all over Metro Manila are currently participating in the strike. Workers, urban poor, professionals, church people and small businessmen have joinged the protests at Cubao, Monumento, Novaliches, Alabang, Port Area, Kalayaan Ave. , Taytay, Angono and Baclaran.

PISTON-KMU and Anakpawis members and affiliate transport organizations in Baguio City, Cagayan Valley, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Bicol Region, Cebu City, Negros provinces, Panay island, Eastern Visayas, Davao provinces, Cotabato, General Santos City, and other urban centers nationwide have also launched synchronized actions and protests since 5am today.

Beltran said that this transport strike is characterized mainly by the Filipino public's united stand against the national government. "This strike may be prodded by economic reasons, namely the high prices of diesel and petroleum products - but the orientation is highly political. The public's hackles are all raised against the administration and its tax measures, and over-all betrayal of the welfare and interest of the poor and working people," he said. He said that now, more than ever, a P125 across-the-board wage hike for workers and a P3,000 salary hike for those in the public sector are justified.

The veteran labor leader said that there was also an overwhelming clamor against the oil deregulation law. "More than a rollback in prices, transport groups and private vehicle owners and consumers are demanding the immediate junking of the oil deregulation," he said. "It's long overdue that this treacherous piece of legislation be scrapped, and its impact reversed. The greedy triumvirate of Shell, Caltex and Petron exploit and continue to exploit the oil deregulation law, and the oil price hikes are tantamount to economic sabotage against the welfare of consumers and the general public."

In the meantime, the Senate's recent approval of the VAT hike bill all the more justifies the urgent need to give out wage increase for workers and wage earners in the private sector. "Without a doubt the VAT hike will definitely affect the prices of local petroleum products. Oil companies are now empowered to further abuse their pricing rights and extract more blood money from the public for greater profit. Shell, Caltex and Petron executives must be dancing in their offices because of the VAT," he said. #


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