NTU-APL gears for transport strike as government fails to implement P1 peso discount on fuel cost

The National Transportworkers Union (NTU) and the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) are utterly dismayed with thegovernment’s failure to fully implement our demand for a P1 peso discount on diesel and gasoline for public transport utilities in all gas stations nationwide. Meanwhile, the government has been sitting on transport groups’ petition for a fare hike increase as oil companies continue to jack up prices of oil products.

Enough is enough! We are giving the government one week to either grant roll back in oil prices or a fare hike. If it fails to do so once again, we are left with no other option but to launch coordinated and paralyzing transport strikes in key cities nationwide!

The NTU-APL had held a series of dialogues with the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation and Communications to look for various ways to lessen the impact of the continuous increases in the prices of crude oil. The NTU-APL position of P1 peso rebate is intended to be a big relief for the public transport drivers and operators nationwide who have been trying to avoid an increase in fares.

However, the government did not implement the P1 discounts in all gas stations nationwide. Instead, only two to three outlets in some cities are giving discounts. In other cities and municipalities, there are none up to now. Worse, only diesel oil was given the one-peso discount even as other transport utilities like, tricycles and FX-taxis are using gasoline. On top of all these, the oil companies’ continued price increases would eventually make said discounts worthless!

Transport workers have long been awaiting relief, while the government continues to succumb to the profiteering interests of private oil companies. This government can afford to frustrate and starve us, or so it thinks, but cannot put much pressure on resource-rich oil companies.

The NTU-APL asserts that the oil deregulation program of the government is the main problem. We reiterate our demand that the oil companies should not be given a free hand in determining the prices of oil products. A review of this law is long overdue.

Given these negative impacts of deregulation, the NTU-APL is demanding from the government to either roll back the prices of oil products to 2000 levels or allow a P1.50 fare hike. We demand that the government lower the price of diesel to P15.50 per liter and that of gasoline to P20.00 per liter. If this really cannot be done, then we have no other option but to demand for a P1.50 fare increase.

If either would not materialize, then the NTU-APL, together with other transport groups, will hold a nationwide transport strike on 31 March, Wednesday, to let the government know that it can no longer afford to ignore the interests of the transport workers.

The National Transportworkers’ Union (NTU) is an umbrella organization of transport workers’ federations nationwide founded last December 2003. It is an affiliate of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL).

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