The regional peasant group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) joined the call to junk the Oil Deregulation Law as it is a major cause of worsened poverty farmers in the region are now facing. They also lambasted the Aquino government in betraying the people to whom he promised ‘change’ but served as puppet to the “Big Three” oil companies, such as Caltex, Shell and Petron. Thus, poor Filipinos are now facing deepening economic crisis as brought about by the incessant oil price hike.
“We strongly call for the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law as it directly puts the livelihood of farmers into deep poverty and indebtedness. Petroleum products are primary requirements in agriculture and farmers are put into debt as they could not bear the cost of diesel they use in irrigating their farms, running equipments and more,” Joseph Canlas, AMGL chair said in a press statement.
“In rice production during the dry season, diesel costs reaches to 500 liter per hectare, thus, it instantly charge the farmers about P22,375 per hectare of riceland. It is greatly a big chunk to be compensated of the gross harvest that reaches to about 100 cavans of unhusked rice per hectare valued at P80,000. Thus, oil costs immediately slash about 28% of the gross harvest. This reality is putting more farmers into debt, consequently into being landless,” Canlas said.
AMGL said that oil is also a requirement in tobacco, fruits and vegetable farming, particularly in irrigating lands. Petroleum products are regularly used in tractors, hand tractors, motor pumps, “kuliglig” (hand-tractor with cart). Oil price hike also increases costs in transportation that reduce farmers’ income. In addition, farming families are also affected by fare hikes as a natural result of oil price hikes.
Moreover, AMGL said that fisherfolk in Central Luzon provinces such as Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales and Aurora are very much affected by continuing oil price increases. Fisherfolk regularly use petroleum products on their fishing operations.
“The only winners on the oil price hikes are the ‘Big Three’ and the Aquino government as it charges value added tax (VAT) on oil. Thus, farmers, fisherfolk, workers and other sectors should unite against oil price hikes and call for the junking of Oil Deregulation Law,” Canlas said.
AMGL said it supports the bill of Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, who also chairs the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) junking the Oil Deregulation Law. #