A group of educators joins growing calls by the public for the Aquino government to control oil prices and regulate the oil industry, saying that consumers have the right to affordable and just prices of a vital product such as oil.
The Educators’ Forum for Development (EfD)joined today’s launching of the Coalition Against Oil Price Increases (CAOPI) as one of its convenors. The EfD, a voluntary association of progressive educators from Philippine-based schools, stresses that oil price hikes and its resulting general inflation have been a heavy burden for Filipino families, particularly those of public sector employees such as teachers and government workers.
Citing studies of IBON that local pump prices have increased higher than the movement of Dubai prices, EfD urges government officials to act swiftly in regulating the local oil industry, if only to provide immediate relief to consumers, public transport and commuters. IBON’s study found that diesel may be overpriced from 8%-43% over the January 1999-January 2011 period, where 8% assumes crude cost in a liter of diesel is equivalent to 1.3 liters of Dubai crude and 43% assumes a liter of diesel has 1 liter of Dubai crude.
Even the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in a 2009 study also show an unexplained difference between global and local oil price movements amounting to Php6.91 to Php8.69 per liter for premium and unleaded gasoline. Oil companies have announced another round of oil price hike by 25 centavos per liter, for the sixth straight week.
EfD also laments the government reasoning in defending the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products, saying that funds for poverty-alleviation and improvement of social services can be taken from other sources such as increasing taxes on imports and corporate profits. The group also urges school officials and fellow educators to strengthen consumer education in their respective curriculum by incorporating activities and lesson plans that will help students understand consumer-related issues such as oil price increases. (end)