• Militant groups to stage general strike July 16

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    Militant groups announced on Wednesday a nationwide general strike on July 16 to protest rising fuel prices, water rates and Metro train fares.

    The strike will be spearheaded by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) with the transport group Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper and Operator Nationwide (Piston) and peasant organization Anakpawis and Bayan participating, George San Mateo, Piston national president, said in a press briefing.

    San Mateo said the protest will be held in the primary urban centers.

    He lambasted Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla’s proposal for automatic adjustments in fares based on the movement of oil prices.

    San Mateo said oil prices should have a big rollback and the 12 percent value-added tax on oil must be scrapped.

    A consumer group, StrikeTheHike on Wednesday joined the opposition to price hikes and the Energy department’s proposal to the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for an automatic quarterly fare adjustment.

    Petilla said the government can do nothing about oil price hikes because the fuel industry is deregulated.

    “Our government seems to be missing real issues and solutions behind high prices of oil and petroleum products in the country. The DOE proposal for an automatic quarterly fare adjustment will not resolve the issue of price increases but will only make it chronic and recurring unless the government will regulate oil prices like that of transportation fares,” Mark Louie Aquino, StrikeTheHike spokesman and secretary-general of Bayan-NCR, said in a statement.

    “With the current rising trend of oil prices in the local and international market, we fear that the automatic quarterly fare adjustment scheme will only result higher transportation fares in the long run,” he said.

    NEIL A. ALCOBER

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