The DNX Reportorial Team
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Organizers of a two-day strike and “peoples holiday” here claim they will ground public transport to a halt amid the continued hikes in oil prices worldwide that has led locally to at least 11 rounds of increases in petroleum pump prices since the start of 2022.
Activist leader Diego Malacad slammed President Duterte for what he called as “abuloy (donations for the dead)” after the chief executive approved the recommendation of the finance department to not suspend the excise tax on petroleum products but give, instead, P200 per month to the poorest 50 percent of the population.
“That is too big an amount,” a sarcastic Malacad said as he vowed that the transport strike here “will demonstrate to President Duterte that democracy is a government for the people, by the people and of the people.”
Malacad heads the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON)-Negros that is one of the drivers organization leadimg the strike.
Moderate groups Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Association (FEBACDA) and the Alliance of Concerned Transport in Negros Occidental (ACTION) are also joining the protest action.
As Malacad claimed that the business sector is joining them in a “people’s holiday,” Frank Carbon, executive director of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the will not solve the issue of rising fuel prices.
Carbon said the economy is already suffering and the strike will not improve the situation as he pointed out that solving the problem of rising petroleum prices is beyond the power of the local government.
People have been striving to recover from their lost jobs and the LGU has been focusing on the recovery plan just to ensure the economy is moving forward, he added.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
At the City Hall, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said it will be “business as usual.”
“We wish you a peaceful activity next week. And I reiterate my call for sobriety. Let us also respect for other stakeholders, who may not join the protest action on Monday and Tuesday,” Leonardia said in a press statement released by the Public Information Office, Friday.
” So as not to disrupt the LGU’s services to its constituents, your city government will observe regular office hours. The local government will also provide transport services to employees, who may be stranded as a result of the “People’s Holiday”.
Employees are, therefore, advised to communicate with their respective departments or units for guidance.” / JDM, HAP, MNM