Workers slam oil price hikes on Christmas eve

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Big 3 oil companies for hiking prices one day before Christmas, saying the companies are showing just how greedy they are by increasing the burden being borne by the public.

Citing price movements in the world market, Petron and Shell announced the following hikes in per-liter prices effective 12:01 am of Dec. 24: P0.50 for unleaded and premium gasoline, P0.55 for regular gasoline, P0.45 for diesel, and P0.60 for kerosene.

“By increasing prices one day before Christmas, the Big 3 oil companies are showing, yet again, just how greedy they are. They are taking advantage of Filipinos’ wish to be with their families and friends this Christmas and New Year,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“While Filipinos are having a hard time trying to enjoy the season because of the worsening hunger and poverty, the Big 3 oil companies are busy trying to increase their profits for the year. And the Aquino government is standing idly by as a willing accomplice,” he added.

The labor leader said oil prices in the world market are going down because the slowdown of the economies of the US and Europe has meant reduced car sales and fuel consumption.

“This time around, oil prices in the world market are not on the side of the Big 3. Price movements in the international oil market dictate that oil companies reduce, not increase, prices,” Labog said.

“Our friends in the US tell us that oil prices there are decreasing. Why are oil prices in the country increasing instead?” he added.

KMU said that the price hike highlights the need for the government to junk the Oil Deregulation Law and enforce controls over price movements in the oil industry.

“This ill-timed increase shows us, once again, that oil companies cannot be allowed to increase prices at will. The government cannot simply take the oil companies’ excuses at face value,” Labog said.

“The government should step into the setting of oil prices and exercise some form of control over these. The government’s refusal to do so has always meant a greater burden for the Filipino workers and people,” he added.

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