Transport groups paralyze Southern Luzon over oil price hikes
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE - 6:09 p.m.) Militant transport groups on Wednesday said they had paralyzed commuter traffic in Southern Luzon Wednesday as protests were staged elsewhere across the country to demand a major rollback in fuel prices and the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law.
In Bicol, the Concerned Drivers and Operators for Reform, the regional affiliate of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide, claimed to have totally paralyzed public transport in the region, except for Masbate City, from as early as 9 a.m.
Condor chapters placed the transport paralysis at between 85-100 percent in the different Bicol provinces.
In Albay, classes were suspended while provincial police director Senior Superintendent William Macavinta said they had also discouraged people from leaving their homes.
In the Southern Tagalog region, 90 percent of transport was paralyzed in the 31 towns and four cities of Laguna province, according to the Southern Tagalog Transport Sector Organization (Starter)-Piston.
In Metro Manila, Piston led a protest caravan of some 50 jeepneys and FX taxis that went around the national headquarters of the so-called “Big Three” oil firms - Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell, and Chevron Phil.
Piston secretary general George San Mateo said fuel prices had been overpriced by as much as P9 a liter from January 2008 to July this year. Aside from the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law, Piton is also demanding a one-time rollback of P8-9 a liter in fuel prices.
Also joining the protest were the Kilusang Mayo Uno and Bagong Alayansang Makabayan.
Simultaneous protests were also held in Monumento, Baclaran, Novaliches, Sta. Mesa, and Cubao.
Protests were also held in Cebu City and Davao City, Santiago City and Tuguegarao in Cagayan Valley, Baguio City, Angeles City, Bacolod, General Santos, Cagayan De Oro, Butuan and Surigao City and other parts of Mindanao.
Earlier, Piston said it was preparing for a nationwide transport strike that would involve even moderate transport groups as well as the party-list 1-Utak.