The United Negros Drivers Operators Center yesterday called on the business sector to join a rally they are staging in Bacolod City on March 31 as part of a nationwide protest against what they call manipulated oil price increases, and the higher fuel rates charged in Negros Occidental.
UNDOC secretary general Jesse Ortega and deputy secretary general Nilo Frias met with leaders of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Frank Carbon and Jose Ma. Zayco to explain the need for the protest.
Ortega said the protest, which is nationally coordinated by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide, will be through various forms of mass actions.
Some groups in Luzon will stage transport strikes, he said.
As an opening salvo, UNDOC decided on a rally at the Fountain Justice in Bacolod but if the abusive price increases continue, they will stage a transport strike, too, he said.
More than 500 drivers and operators are joining the rally and they are uging other groups to join then, he said.
Aside from the unreasonable rise in oil prices, those in the Visayas pay higher rates than those in the National Capital Region and the Department of Energy, despite its promises, has done nothing about it, Ortega said.
DOE Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. last month noted that fuel in Negros Occidental is P4.50 to P5 a liter higher than in the NCR.
“We believe the DOE is tolerating the oil companies abusive price increases,” Ortega said.
He also said they are urging the MBCCI members to join their protest since they are also affected by oil price hikes.
Carbon said they will discuss the call of UNDOC with their board before they make a decision on whether to join the March 31 rally.
“We will discuss the protest action and where we can come in to help,” he said. “It is our feeling that it is about time everybody helps in this cause,” he added.
The price difference between fuel in Negros Occidental and NCR is also being questioned by MBCCI that has also written to DOE on the matter, Carbon added.*CPG