Militants set weeklong protests vs oil price hikes
Militant groups will start on Monday a week-long series of protests against the weekly hikes in prices of petroleum products.
Party-list Anakpawis said it will hold a signature drive starting Monday at malls, piers and markets to repeal the oil deregulation law, radio dzBB reported Sunday.
Anakpawis said it will submit the gathered signatures to Bataan Rep. Henedina Abad, who chairs the House committee on energy. Abad is a member of the administration-allied Liberal Party.
For its part, Malacantilde;ang maintained it is the right of groups to hold protests.
Karapatan nila yan ipahayag ang kanilang damdamin, ang gusto lang natin iparating sa lahat, meron tayong ginagawa [tungkol sa problema], deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on government-run dzRB radio on Saturday.
Urban poor group Kadamay started Saturday its weeklong noise barrages in different parts of Metro Manila to protest the weekly oil price hikes.
In a news release, Kadamay said it is holding the noise barrages from 6 to 6:30 pm
The protest actions will culminate in a main protest rally on March 15, led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
Valte clueless on VAT bills
Meanwhile, Bayan chided Valte for suggesting to militants that they file bills in Congress to scrap the value-added tax for oil products.
If they really feel as strongly the 12 percent is too high or they (protesters) think there should be a suspension, the best place to start would be Congress, Valte said.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Valte appears clueless on the fact that there are pending bills on the VAT on oil and even the oil deregulation law now gathering dust in Congress.
The problem is not the lack of legislation but the utter lack of political will and sense of urgency on the part of the Aquino administration, he said.
If government really wants to help the consumers, it can easily gather 188 signatures like they did with the impeachment and immediately repeal the VAT on oil, he added.
Bayan said its allied party-list group Bayan Muna has filed House Bill 2719 calling for the repeal of the VAT on oil.
There are at least six pending bills related to the review and repeal of the oil deregulation law filed before the House Committee on Energy but not a single hearing has been set, it added.
Bayan added it was immoral for government to be reaping windfall revenues from the surge in oil prices.
The government is profiting from the misery and suffering of the people. Oil prices abroad are already bloated by as much as 70 percent due to monopoly pricing and speculation, yet the government sees nothing wrong in profiting from this onerous setup, Reyes said.
Bayan added plugging tax leaks is a better alternative to the VAT on oil.
The reason they dont want to give up the VAT on oil because it is a sure source of revenue. It is easier to collect the VAT on oil than say, stamping out corruption and plugging the tax leaks. When Aquino was running for president in 2010, he vowed to recoup the P150 billion annual tax leak. Meeting just half that target would compensate for any lost revenues from the repeal of the VAT on oil, Reyes added. LBG, GMA News