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KMU to Aquino: Ease inflation, stop local oil overpricing

Amidst news that inflation rose 4.6 percent from a year ealier in July, following a 26-month high last June, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the Aquino government to stop the local overpricing of oil to ease inflation, saying the move will give immediate relief to workers and poor people.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco cited the prices of gas and other fuels, the liquefied petroleum gas in particular, as some of the main drivers of inflation, as oil remains the country’s top commodity import.

According to research from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan, local oil companies have overpriced their products by about P9.00 per liter, accumulated since January 2008. The figure was arrived at by comparing oil price movements in the world market, deciphering what should be the price movement in the country, and comparing these with the actual price movements here.

“Stopping the local overpricing of P9.00 per liter in oil will definitely ease high inflation and give immediate relief to the Filipino workers and people. Because oil is a crucial commodity in the country’s economy, a significant rollback in the prices of petroleum products will hopefully reduce the prices of other basic commodities,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“Aside from removing the E-VAT on oil, the Aquino government must immediately investigate the overpricing of local oil companies and order a significant rollback. In fact, the Big 3 of Petron, Caltex and Shell should be punished for sucking the people dry through overpricing, something that smacks of nothing less than a sabotage of the country’s economy,” he said.

“The Aquino government’s excuse, that it can do nothing to reduce the prices of a commodity as crucial as oil, is an insult to the intelligence of the people,” he added.

KMU said the Filipino people stand to benefit from a significant reduction in oil prices.

“It is simply revolting that the Aquino government has not stood on the side of the Filipino people on the issue of oil prices despite the fact that Petron, Shell and Caltex are the Top 1, 2 and 5 corporations in the country in terms of profits. Poor people are suffering from extreme hunger and poverty while these corporations are having a grand time raking in huge profits,” Soluta said.

“From farmers and fisherfolks who use oil in earning a living, to drivers of public utility vehicles, to commuters and consumers burdened by high fares and prices, to small businessmen suffering from high energy costs – the Filipino people stands to benefit from a P9.00 per liter rollback in oil prices,” he added. Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary General

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