Amid skyrocketing prices of petroleum products and basic commodities, the US-Duterte regime’s TRAIN law chokes the Filipino people on a garrote

Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao
Press statement | June 1, 2018

Whether the US-Duterte regime admits it or not, it is undeniable that with the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products and other basic commodities, the effects of the much-vaunted TRAIN Law cripplingly burden the Filipino masses of workers, peasants and national minorities, who already suffer under the current economic crunch because their daily wages and incomes are extremely way below the current general cost of living.

Apart from the the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, which practically frees giant oil companies from local state price control, the TRAIN Law gives the same oil industry giants an excuse, and further latitude, to increase petroleum prices to their greed’s content by imposing newer and higher excise tax on petroleum products.

This has resulted in the nearly weekly increases in the prices of gasoline and other petroleum products in excess of more than P1.00 per liter. As a “political commodity,” its dominoe effect on other basic commodities has been staggering, causing uncontrollable price hikes in commodities the country’s majority poor use on a daily basis, such as rice, coffee, sugar, salt, basic food items (e.g. vegetables, meat, etc.), school supplies, electricity, water and others. LPG companies recently jacked up its prices by at least P3.00-P4.00/11kg. It will come as no surprise that such increases will also extend to school matriculation and other fees as well as in payment for services.

With every increase, the noose is tightening on the necks of the poor Filipinos, driving many to further destitution and hunger. This is simpy because the wages and incomes of the majority poor in the country remain at low levels (earning only between P200 – P400 daily), despite the fact the a family of six must at the very least earn P1,171.00 daily in order to survive the current chronic economic debacle. Big capitalists on the other hand continue to find more aggressive means to push down the level of wages in order to further boost their profit margin.

TRAIN Law and its adverse effects are nothing short of condemnable, immoral, and criminal, as the US-Duterte regime, in cahoots with big bourgeois compradors and the rest of the ruling classes in the country, kills the Filipino people, slowly but most assuredly, on a US neoliberal policy-dictated, state-imposed garrote.

Now, the Filipino people, majority of whom whose incomes cannot even sustain their basic needs on a daily basis, are infuriated with the effects of TRAIN LAW, and are clearly calling for its immediate stoppage and the scrapping of this anti-poor and regressive law, which will only be used to fund Duterte’s ambitious Build, Build, Build infrastructure frenzy project that will further burden the poor.

Hardest hit by this wave of oil price increases and increases in the prices of basic commodities are the drivers and operators, poor peasants, workers, indigenous peoples and even the so-called middle class. In Mindanao, majority of the regions belong to the country’s poorest bottom half such as the ARMM, Caraga, Lanao, Zamboanga, South and North Cotabato, the populace of which will surely be negatively impacted by the crippling effects of the TRAIN law.

The NDFP-Mindanao says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We call on the people to rise in protest and strongly call for the complete stoppage and scrapping of the immoral and anti-poor TRAIN Law, the scourge to the Filipino people.###