Bacolod drivers plan strike
BACOLOD CITY—Jeepney drivers, backed by multisectoral groups, will lead a two-day transport strike here to call on the government to act on the disparity in fuel prices in Metro Manila and Negros Occidental.
Consumers in Negros Occidental pay about P5 more for every liter of fuel than those in Metro Manila.
The United Negros Drivers Operators Center (Undoc) disclosed the May 16-17 protest plan in a forum it convened on Friday with the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), and Bayan Muna.
The party-list Bayan Muna, and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Negros Occidental’s third district, have filed proposed resolutions to fight the price difference in the House of Representatives.
Representatives Anthony Golez Jr. of Bacolod, Mercedes Alvarez of the sixth district, and Ignacio Arroyo Jr. of the fifth district have signified support for the proposed measure.
The city council has asked the mayor in a resolution to file charges against local oil firms in connection with the alleged indiscriminate overpricing of petroleum products for violations of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998.
Jesse Ortega, Undoc secretary general, said his group would ask taxi groups and the Federation of Bacolod Drivers Association to join the two-day strike.
During the forum, Ibon Foundation’s head researcher Sonny Africa said the monopoly of Petron, Shell and Caltex had resulted in high prices of fuel, and that the other private oil companies were part of the monopoly.
“The only thing that is keeping prices of fuel high in Negros is that we are allowing oil firms to get away with it,” Africa claimed.