Progressive groups stage peaceful rally vs rising fuel prices

By: Mary Rose Sagarino - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 18,2022 - 06:25 PM



Members of progressive groups stage a peaceful rally in front of the Petron Oil Depot to protest the rising cost of fuel.      | Mary Rose Sagarino

MANDAUE CITY, Philippines- Several progressive groups in Cebu led by BAYAN Central Visayas staged a rally in front of the Petron Oil Depot on Friday, March 18, 2022, to protest the series of oil price hikes.

The group is calling for the suspension of the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products, the excise tax on oil, and the removal of the Oil Deregulation Law.

The 12 percent VAT is in addition to the imposed excise tax on petroleum products. Under the Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the current excise tax for diesel is P6 per liter, P10 per liter for gas, and P5 per liter for kerosene.

Republic Act 8479, or the “Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, reduces the government’s control on petroleum pricing, activity, and trade restrictions.

Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, fuel prices continued to increase. Currently, pump prices range from P70 to P80 a liter, depending on the grade.

The groups are also calling for the P10,000 financial assistance as fuel subsidy for poor families good for three months.

Jaime Paglinawan, BAYAN Central Visayas Chairman, said the government’s subsidy of P200 per month for poor families is an insult to them. President Rodrigo Duterte already signed the monthly subsidy of P200 for one year.

“Unsay pagtan-aw nila sa atoang kabus? Makalilimos? Tagaan lag mumho kay kung imo nang bahinun P200 matag buwan sa unom sa sakop sa matag adlaw P1 ra na, sa amoang tan-aw dili gani mudawat ang bata karun imo tagaan piso sa usa ka adlaw, mao nang insulto,” said Paglinawan.

The protest lasted for about an hour. The protesters started massing in front of the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue before going to the Petron Oil Depot.

Paglinawan said they decided to stage the protest in front of the oil company because they want the government to obtain the company again. The government once owned the majority share of Petron.

“Kung ang industriya sa lana control-lon sa gobyerno nga ang kaluha niya nga demanda ang pagbasura sa deregulation law dunay kaatrasan atoang katawhan ug uban nga nanginahanglan sa by products, ikompara karun nga gikontrolar sa korporasyun,” he said.

Over 100 members attended the protest.

The Mandaue City Police reminded them to always follow health protocols because the city is still under Alert Level 2. There were times that the members did not observe social distancing, the police said.

Police Major Philip John Libres, chief of Opao Police Station, said they did not disperse the rally because they were not able to hamper the company’s operation.     /rcg


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TAGS: Bayan-Central Visayas, Cebu‬, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, excise tax on oil, fuel prices, Oil Deregulation Law, oil price hikes, petroleum products, progressive groups, protest, rally, rising fuel prices, value-added tax, VAT

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