“Why is the government giving in to the whims, caprices and profit greed of these big corporations while bleeding dry our people of more tax burden as a result of the TRAIN law and other similar impositions?”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party are quickly garnering supporters to a signature campaign against the TRAIN law. In a joint picket held briefly this morning, May 22, passengers in a queue to ride the Metro Rail Transit from North Avenue or the P2P bus readily signed the protesters’ anti-TRAIN law petition. They also decried the steep price increases resulting from its implementation.
Amid another increase in oil prices this week, an event predicted to further exert upward pressure on prices of other goods in the coming days, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas urged her fellow members in Congress to act immediately. In Congress now awaiting the lawmakers’ attention are proposals and resolutions related to the TRAIN law. Among these, the Makabayan’s proposal to repeal it.
“The Congress has to hasten the hearing on House Bill 7653 filed by the Makabayan and the other resolutions related to TRAIN law before it ends sessions this May,” said Brosas.
Prices of food and other basic goods have increased more than four percent on average in the first quarter of the year. Brosas said these increases have only made life more difficult for many poor families.
While ordinary Filipino citizens are being forced to cope with higher tax payments, the big corporations seem to be having a bonanza in tax write-offs. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate supported the Commission on Audit in standing pat with its call for the government not to shoulder the income tax liabilities of Shell and Chevron, the consortium operating the Malampaya offshore natural gas field.
“Why is the government giving in to the whims, caprices and profit greed of these big corporations, while, bleeding dry our people of more tax burden as a result of the TRAIN law and other similar impositions?” Rep. Zarate asked in another statement.
Gabriela Women Party Rep. Brosas said they will continue with the signature campaign until the TRAIN law is junked.
More calls against TRAIN and price hikes
A day before Bayan and Gabriela’s signature campaign in North Avenue, Quezon City, the workers’ groups led by Kilusang Mayo Uno- Metro Manila held a protest rally at Caltex Gas Station in E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City against a new round of big-time oil price hike this week.
Prices of gasoline are increasing this week to P1.50-P1.60 per liter, diesel to P1.00 – P1.10 per liter and P0.85-P0.95 per liter. Since January 2018, when the TRAIN law also began to take effect, diesel prices have increased by P8.95, gasoline by P8.07 and kerosene by P9.21.
“The drivers and consumers cannot endure it anymore,” said Brosas.
The workers’ groups blame for the price hikes not only the TRAIN law, which they said adds indeed to the rising cost of basic commodities and services. Particular to fuel products, they have always blamed the government’s decision to implement the oil deregulation law as one big factor behind the uncontrolled oil price hikes.
To address these, workers demand not just the repeal of the TRAIN law but also of the oil deregulation law. Instead, they propose the nationalization of the oil industry, and the granting of a wage hike, “to lessen the load being shouldered by Filipino workers.”