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Thursday protests to push for wage hike, scrapping of VAT

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 26, 2008

Could be prelude to Sept transport strike–KMU

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 14:52:00 08/26/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of left-wing activists are mounting protest actions across Metro Manila on Thursday, August 28, to continue pressing government for a legislated P125-across-the-board wage increase and scrap the value added tax (VAT) on oil and electricity.

The protest, organized by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement), will see simultaneous protests from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Welcome Rotonda, Araneta Avenue, Philcoa, Litex-Commonwealth, Stop ‘N Shop, and Novaliches-Bayan in Quezon City; along Sta. Mesa, Pedro Gil and Taft Avenue in Manila; at Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City; Marikina Sports Complex, in In Marikina City, Cainta-Junction, Marulas Market in Valenzuela; and in Alabang and Las Piñas.

KMU chairman Elmer Labog said the Thursday protests could be the prelude to a nationwide transport strike in September if government does not heed their demands.

“For every second, minute, and hour that the prices of petroleum products are not rolled back, the oil cartel earns a huge profit and the Arroyo government a windfall through taxes,” Labog said. “For our government not to implement a corresponding substantial rollback in the light of current large rollback of the world oil price is tantamount to plunder against the people. The people need a reasonable, timely and substantial rollback, not tiny and portioned rollbacks.”

He also claimed that at the rate world oil prices are declining, the prices of oil in the local market should be at around P44 per liter.

Labog said government should stop pushing Charter change and should push, instead, for the immediate legislation of the P125 wage increase.

“The prices of basic commodities are sky high while the wages of the majority of the Filipino people are still inhumanely low,” he said.

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