In time for the start of the imposition of new round of oil price hikess today, Kilusang Mayo Uno Metro Manila leads a series of protest at the head offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and Shell in Makati City to slam the ‘triple whammy’ being suffered by the Filipino workers under the Duterte administration.

The triple whammy, which protesters pointed-out includes high prices, low wages and contractual employment.

The group burned a matrix with logos of the causes of the economic hardship of Filipinos and hold a die-in protest to call for the junking of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, Value Added Tax (VAT), oil deregulation law while demanding for wage increase, regularization and passage of the National Minimum Wage Bill in Congress.

“With the weekly oil price hikes and implementation of the TRAIN Law, workers suffer the brunt of high prices of basic commodities while wages remain low and contractualization is rampant. Meanwhile, the Duterte administration and institutions like DTI and ECOP does nothing to ease the burden of the people, instead, pushes for policies that will further deepen poverty,” said Ed Cubelo, KMU Metro Manila Chairperson.

Cubelo also slammed the Duterte administration and DTI for allowing additional tax burdens including VAT and excise taxes from the TRAIN Law and the deregulated status of oil prices. The group added that DTI has no teeth in controlling the weekly oil price hike and other price increase caused by additional taxes.

“The Duterte administration is inutile for remaining mum on the weekly oil price hikes while oil giants like Shell and Chevron rake in billions of profit,” said Cubelo.

‘Impossible’

KMU Metro Manila also criticized ECOP for rebuking proposals to increase wage and implement a national minimum wage as proposed by the Makabayan bloc in Congress through House Bill 7787 that was filed yesterday. On Monday, ECOP insisted that a national minimum wage nor a wage hike is ‘impossible’ to happen and will only cause massive lay-offs of workers.

Cubelo said that they see nothing new to the statement of the ECOP. He insisted, that for the longest time, ECOP knows nothing but to oppose all measures that were beneficial to Filipino workers including regular employment, higher wages, enactment of a National Minimum Wage Bill, abolition of the Regional Wage Boards among others.

The group also denounced ECOP for consistently exposing itself to be anti-workers. “We condemn ECOP for being at the forefront of going against any increase in wages and abolishing the practice of contractualization which only shows how greedy they are for profit,” said Cubelo.

He added, “ECOP must stop its lame excuses and must bear in mind that nothing is impossible to a determined and unified ranks of working Filipinos.”

The group also called on the workers and people to not let these weekly oil price hike and soaring price of basic commodities pass and mount series of protests.

“Workers should rise up, storm concerned institutions, and not allow this administration and greedy capitalists to continue passing on tax burdens and oil price hikes to the impoverished people,” concluded Cubelo.

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