By NITZ ARANCON
A PUBLIC transportation organization yesterday called on the city’s two congressmen to push for the repeal of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law while a labor group grumbled over the current salary levels vis-à-vis the weakening peso in the wake of the big-time fuel-price increases yesterday morning.
The Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Region 10-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston) appealed to Reps. Rolando Uy and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of the city’s 1st and 2nd districts, respectively, to author a proposed resolution that would seek the repeal of the Train law.
Meanwhile, the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) sounded alarm bells over the weakening peso, saying it would prompt the organization to call for a wage increase especially for private sector workers.
Lawyer Proculo Sarmen, ALU-TUCP vice president for northern Mindanao, said the labor organization is studying a proposed petition aimed at increasing wages.
With fuel prices going up, aggravated by the additional taxes imposed by the government because of the Train law, Sarmen said the purchasing power of the peso is expected to be eroded further.
Pump prices dramatically increased yesterday morning mainly due the move of oil producers to reduce their outputs so that there would be no oversupply.
Most of the oil firms increased the prices by an average P2.30 per liter for diesel, an average P1.40 per liter for gasoline, and an average P2 per liter for kerosene effective 6 am on Tuesday.
Yesterday’s price increases resulted from the movement of international crude prices, and not yet the effect of the excise-tax increase on fuel this month.
Ringo Lago, Starex-Piston secretary general, said the additional taxes imposed by the government have had a domino effect on the prices of basic commodities, and more taxes would further contribute to inflation.
Fuel prices, according to Lago, would be much lower without the excise taxes.
Lago warned of a potential unrest, and a barrage of protests by the public transport sector against the Duterte administration unless Congress repeals the Train law.
He said various public transportation organizations were already preparing to take to the streets before March.
“House bill pa lang kining Train law, da-an na kami nag-supak niini kay anti-poor kaayo kini nga bala-od,” Lago said.
ALU-TUCP’s Sarmen, for his part, said his group was considering to file a petition for another salary increase next month.
Sarmen said ALU-TUCP is studying such a petition as well as a suggestion for the organization to lead calls for the abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards so that wage increases could be effected though Congress.