BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
More groups support the 2-day transport strike or “people’s holiday” in Bacolod City on March 21 to 22 due to the escalating prices of fuel and increasing cost of basic commodities.
Wennie Sancho, Western Visayas representative to the Regional Wage Board and Teddy Macainan of the Alliance of Transport in Negros Occidental (ACTION), said they support the “people’s holiday” provided that it does not exceed two days due to any possible adverse effect it may have on workers.
Major transport groups in the city will participate in the people’s holiday or transport strike, which will start at 3 a.m. on March 21 and end at 3 p.m. on March 23.
Sancho said he believes that if petroleum products continue to increase, it’s time for the tripartite bodies- government, management and workers-to share the burden.
Government should suspend the imposition of excise tax and reduce value added tax (VAT) to mitigate any increase in the cost of fuel and basic commodities, as well as give wage subsidy to the workers, he said.
“On the part of management or companies, aside from giving wage increase, which is necessary, we propose that they give free snacks and transportation allowance for the workers and also reduce their return of investment,” he said.
Sancho said the workers should be motivated to work harder in order to scale up their productivity by way of extending one hour work without overtime compensation as a manifestation of their cooperation.
If this could be worked out, the impact of fuel price increase could be cushioned, he added.
Macainan said they have instructed their members to join the two-day transport strike. They also called for the cooperation of the private sector.
“We join the band wagon in calling for the implementation of the excise tax to be stopped and for the automatic review of the Oil Deregulation Law which is long overdue,” he said, adding that this should have been scrapped because it is not benefitting the oil industry.
“It is high time for government to review this problem in order to address the fuel crisis we are facing,” Macainan also said.*