By Leslie Ann Aquino
The fuel price increase may trigger the erosion of the buying power of all workers, a labor group said Tuesday.
“The big-time fuel price increase will definitely impact the prices of goods and cost of services which will automatically lessen the purchasing power of wage,” said Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) president Raymond Mendoza in a statement.
“This natural increase in the prices of goods and services will be confounded by additional prices imposed by profiteers and profiteering activities who always exploit the weak enforcement of government regulation on prices of basic commodities and services,” Mendoza added.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) slammed the oil price hike as “artificial, unwarranted, and unjustified.”
“The Duterte government is allowing big oil companies to use the attacks in Saudi Arabian oil companies, which can be fixed soon, and the long-standing trade war between US and China to implement a big-time oil price hike. The Oil Deregulation Law must be junked because it only feeds the greed of big oil companies. They are always using the international situation as an alibi,” said KMU secretary-general Jerome Adonis in a statement.
“We won’t take another series of OPH (oil price hike) sitting down while prices of basic commodities again go up. The Christmas season has practically started in the Philippines, and we don’t want manufacturing companies and supermarkets to get yet another excuse to raise the prices of their products during the run up to December. Neither, will we accept the attempts of the oil companies to justify oil price increases by saying, yet again, that global prices have also gone up. The government should confront the oil companies once and for all for jacking up their prices at the slightest excuse,” he added.
Julius Cainglet of the Federation of Free Workers said the oil price hike was grossly unfair to workers.
“They are raising oil prices on the basis of mere speculation. There should be enough buffer stock in the international market to stave off the price increases,” he said.
Rene Magtubo of the Partido ng Manggagawa said there should be no big-time price hike given that oil companies still have their reserves priced at a lower cost.
“Any big-time increase should be supported by the DOE’s assessment on the oil companies’ present oil reserves and costs. Absent this, big-time oil price hikes will be a windfall to oil companies but would bring about price hikes to basic goods that ordinary workers consumed,” he said.
Josua Mata of Sentro believes any additional oil price hike would be highly speculative.
“From what I gathered, the Saudi government is acting fast to rebuild their capacity, and they should be able to address the problem soon,” he said.