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Consumers demand cash aid, wage hike as more oil price increases loom

A network of consumers’ rights advocates demanded that government continue with the roll out of its promised aid to families severely affected by recent spikes in prices of goods and services.

The Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Konsyumer para sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan (SUKI Network) said their demand for cash assistance for affected families, transport workers, small businesses and producers are unchanged despite the rollback in oil prices this week.

The group also pressed the government to implement salary increases and reduce prices by scrapping oil excise taxes to help poor families recover from pandemic consumer woes.

SUKI Network is composed of organizations of poor sectors such as drivers, the urban poor, workers, farmers, small entrepreneurs, academics, church people, advocates of the right to food and basic needs, social services, public utilities, among others.

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) officer Eufemia Doringo said such demands are just as they see further increases in prices of goods and services as another round of oil prices loom nest week.

“Transport workers with the Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) say they are far from recovered with the Php11.45/liter rollback. They have lost income from 11 consecutive weeks of oil price increases this year exceeding Php30.00,” Doringo said.

Doringo reported that in the urban poor community of Sitio San Roque, Barangay North Triangle, Quezon City, rice is being sold at Php35-36/kilo, pork bones at Php250-300/kilo, dried fish at Php10-20/piece, cabbage at Php50-80/piece and sugar at (Php53-Php70/kilo.

Consumer rights advocate Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada at Kuryente (BKKK) also criticized increased electricity rates it said would impact so-called lifeline consumers.

BKKK convenor Prof. Louie Montemar said the government should consider using the Malampaya funds to subsidize electricity rates and offset the new Php0.0625 per kilowatt hour (kWh) increase, bringing rates to Php9.6467 per kWh.

Government shows lack of control

Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis meanwhile said that the rollback indicates price manipulation on the part of oil cartels.

“They easily announced a rollback after raking super-profits from the total several weeks’ hike of up to Php30.75 per liter in the price of diesel, up to20.50 for gasoline and PHp24.90 for kerosene,” Casilao explained.

The former legislator said the rise and fall in oil prices also shows government’s lack of control of the oil industry under the Oil Deregulation Law.

“As long as deregulation is in place, the nation and the public are at the mercy of giant oil companies’ opaque pricing schemes. The unbundling of the price of petroleum products in the recommended amendments to the deregulation law would be welcome,” Casilao said.

The SUKI network said it demands the unbundling of petroleum product prices, scrapping of the oil excise tax and Oil Deregulation Law, Php10,000 cash assistance for the 18 million poorest households, Php15,000 subsidy to producers, substantial support for small local businesses, and a Php750 national minimum wage.

Collect Marcoses’ unpaid taxes

The network said Duterte’s recent order to increase its monthly financial aid to the poorest Filipino families affected by oil price increases from Php200 to Php500 still only amounts to just Php16.67 per day.

It also cited figures from economic think tank IBON Foundation that the real value of the minimum wage has fallen from Php536.74 in 2016 to Php494.02 in February 2022.

According to IBON, the living wage is now at Php1,072 per day or Php25,252 per month for a family of five in the National Capital Region.”

“The argument that there aren’t funds for the people’s demands is worn and torn,” SUKI Network spokesperson Prof. Reginald Vallejos said.

“IBON has shown that if the Duterte government really wants to help its constituency, it can reallocate the trillions it budgeted for big-ticket infrastructure, debt servicing, and military and police modernization; recover tax cuts given to big corporations; and tax the bilionaires,” Vallejos said.

Kadamay’s Doringo added that the government must also decisively collect Php203 billion estate tax arrears of the heirs of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as additional source of funds for its cash aid roll out.

“Instead of letting them go scott-free while tens of thousands of small businesses are forced to close due to lack of government support, the Marcoses should be obliged by government to face the law and pay up”, Doringo said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Pahayag ng grupong PISTON hinggil sa ‘No Vax, No Ride’ policy

Habang patuloy ang kanilang protesta sa bantang phase-out sa mga jeepney at walang awat na taas-presyo ng langis, mariing tinututulan ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide o PISTON ang ipinapatupad na “NO VACCINE, NO RIDE” at inilarawan na isang kontra-drayber at kontra-mamamayan na patakarang ipinapairal ng pamahalaan sa panahon ng pandemya.

Court acquits PISTON leader vs LTFRB charge

The Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (MTC-QC) acquitted a transport leader against charges filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in 2017.

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) president emeritus George San Mateo said MTC-QC Branch 43 acquitted him of the charges filed by the transport agency in connection with his role in the nationwide transport strikes opposing the LTFRB’s so-called jeepney modernization program.

“According to the court, I am acquitted of the charge against me by the LTFRB of allegedly violating the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act No 146) when I was PISTON president,” San Mateo said.

MTC-QC Branch 43 conducted an open court promulgation of his case that he watched online, San Mateo said.

Then PISTON president, San Mateo led nationwide strikes against the so called jeepney modernization scheme in February and October of 2017 which the LTFRB said is disallowed and may lead to cancellations of permits to operate.

San Mateo said the court’s decision has validated their stand that the jeepney drivers’ right to hold strikes is more important than LTFRB’s threats.

“This should be considered a victory for the right of PUV drivers, small operators and the people to peaceably and militantly assemble to air their legitimate grievances and aspirations,” San Mateo said.

San Mateo called on both drivers and passengers to carry on the fight against the phase out of jeepneys and the “business of fake public utility vehicle modernization by the Duterte, Department of Transportation and LTFRB regimes.”

The decision was released two years to the day when San Mateo was arrested and allowed to post bail. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Transport leader beaten up inside police station

A transport group said its leader arrested Sunday was beaten up inside the Daraga, Albay police station by suspected military intelligence agents.

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) said its vice president and its Bicol chapter CONDOR-PISTON spokesperson Ramon Rescovilla was beaten up by three burly men inside the Daraga police station.

While undergoing tactical interrogation, Rescovilla was punched five times on his body and head. He was also kicked on his right foot, the group reported.

Rescovilla was arrested at a bridge near his home between Barangays Bintayan and Kilicao in Daraga, Albay Province at 4 pm by about 20 civilian-clad and uniformed police and military personnel.

The transport group leader told his colleagues he was ordered to lie face down on the pavement and handcuffed while an orange body bag was forcibly slung across his body when arrested.

When the bag was later opened by the police, a gun and a grenade was seen inside, a criminal charge the Philippine National Police has filed against many activists.

The police also refused Rescovilla’s requests for a medical check up after the beating as no doctor was available at the time.

Rescovilla’s son Bryan was told by a brother said the victim was crying in pain when found by family members at the police station.

Ayon, umiiyak, hinahawakan iyong tiyan. Binugbog yata sa loob,” regional alternative news group Baretang Bikolnon reported. (He was crying, holding his stomach. He may have been beaten while under police custody.)

Rescovilla had been continuously red-tagged and harassed by state forces prior to the arrest, PISTON said in a statement.

Rescovilla is the fourth activist arrested in the Bicol region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Kailangan pa ring panghawakan ang laban sa pekeng modernisasyon’

“Bagamat kinikilala bilang tagumpay, kailangan pa rin nating panghawakan ang laban sa pekeng modernisasyon. Niraratsada pa rin ng sabwatang Duterte-DOTR-LTFRB ang jeepney phaseout sa gitna ng pandemya para bigyang daan ang imported at napakamahal na “modern” jeeps bilang kapalit ng tradisyunal na jeep.”Mody Floranda, National President, PISTON

Araw ng Pakikiisa sa mga tsuper na nawalan ng hanapbuhay

Sa sama-samang suporta mula sa mga grupo at indibidwal, sa pangunguna ng Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA), nakapaghatid ng tulong sa mga tsuper na nawalan ng hanapbuhay ngayong Hunyo 27 sa C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

Panawagan ng mga tsuper na makabalik na sila sa kalsada upang hindi na mamalimos at may ipakain sa kanilang pamilya. Nanawagan din sila laban sa phase out ng mga jeepney na tangi nilang hanapbuhay. (Bidyo ni Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)

Balik-pasada at ayuda, hiling ng mga tsuper

Ginanap ngayong araw, Hunyo 27, ang Araw ng Pakikiisa para sa mga Jeepney Driver. Nagkaroon ng magkakahiwalay na pagbibigay ng ayuda sa iba’t ibang pondohan ng mga tsuper sa Metro Manila.

Pangunahing tinulungan ng Bayang Matulungin, isang proyekto ng Bayan Muna at PagAsa, ang mga tsuper sa Project 3, Quezon City, Samson Road, Caloocan City, at Rizal Ave., Manila. Nasa mahigit isang daan ang kanilang natulungan.

Panawagan ng mga tsuper na ibalik na sila sa pamamasada at bigyan ng ayuda ang bawat isa. Lampas 100 araw na ang lockdown, ganun din ang kanilang tigil-pasada. Kasama ang kanilang pamilya sa mga apektado ng kanilang kawalang-trabaho. (Bidyo nila Jo Maline Mamangun, Jola Mamangun, at Reggie Mamangun)

Busina para sa balik-pasada, isinagawa ng PISTON

Isinagawa ngayong umaga sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Metro Manila ang Busina para sa Balik-Pasada ng mga dyipni sa pangunguna ng Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide o PISTON. Matapos ang dalawa’t-kalahating buwan na hindi nakapaghanap-buhay dahil sa COVID-19 lockdown, tinututulan ng mga tsuper ang desisyon ng pamahalaan na ipagbawal ang pamamasada ng mga tradisyunal na dyip.

Ayon sa PISTON, isang kahig, isang tuka ang mga drayber ng dyip na lalong magugutom kung hindi pa rin papayagang mamasada. Iginiit rin ng grupo na mahihirapan ang mga manggagawang makabalik sa trabaho kung walang dyip na masasakyan.

Ang mga Tsuper sa Gitna ng Lockdown

Dalawa lamang sina Tatay Leon at Tatay Diosdado sa mga tsuper na apektado ng tigil-pasada dahil sa lockdown.

Nagsimula ang lockdown sa buong Metro Manila noong Marso 15. Ito ay para pigilan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa bansa. Kaugnay nito ang pagbabawal sa mga pampublikong transportasyon na mag-operate. Tinatayang nasa 75,000 ang bilang ng mga nakarehistrong jeepneys sa Metro Manila lamang.

Giit ni Tatay Leon na dapat mag-isip ang pangulo kung paano matutulungan ang mga Pilipinong walang trabaho dahil sa lockdown. Simula pa noong lunes, Marso 16, tigil-pasada na ang mga jeepneys at hirap ang mga tsuper sa paghahanap ng makakain.

Naganap ang panayam noong Marso 20.

Bidyo nila Jola Diones-Mamangun, Arrem Alacaraz, Reggie Mamangun at Jo Maline D. Mamangun

Music Info: Dramatic Emotional – AShamaluevMusic.

Music Link: https://youtu.be/il9HGo4hPjI

‘PUV phaseout, para lamang sa malalaking negosyante’

Aabot sa 95 porsyento ang pagtigil ng pasada sa malawak na lugar ng Kamaynilaan noong Lunes, Setyembre 30, ayon sa PISTON. Ito ay bukod pa sa ilang mga probinsiya na lumahok din sa proteste laban sa phase out ng public utility vehicles sa buong bansa.

Ayon sa mga tsuper, tatanggalin ang kanilang indibidwal na prangkisa sa dyip, UV express at tricycle na siya namang sakayan ng mayorya ng mahihirap na Pilipino. Ang mga prangkisa naman ay iko-konsentra sa malalaking negosyante na magpapanggap na mga kooperatiba. Magdudulot ng malawakang pagkawala ng kanilang hanapbuhay ang dulot ng iskemang ito, anila. (Bidyo ni Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)