Bishop to Aquino: Be sensitive to the poor

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Photo courtesy
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Photo courtesy

MANILA, Philippines (19-March-12) – Amid the spiralling oil prices, a Catholic bishop called on President Benigno Aquino III to show great sensitivity to the poor rather than to the interests of fuel companies.

Since January, the country has already experience nine rounds of oil price hikes and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that the poor is the ultimate victim in this situation.

“In the face of oil crisis, we call on President Noynoy Aquino III to be more sensitive to the situation of the poor rather than to the demands of rich oil companies,” said Pabillo.

“It is immoral and unjust that ordinary citizens are made to suffer the consequences of excessive price demands of downstream oil industry operators,” he said.

Pabillo chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The soaring price of crude oil in international markets is without a doubt a crucial factor in determining local price hikes, he said.

But the CBCP official said there are also local realities that “exacerbate” the situation.

Pabillo cited the government’s “inability” to monitor oil prices and to regulate the increases imposed by big oil players.

“This trend is no longer acceptable as the spiralling oil prices in the country aggravates the poverty situation in which the poor are forced to endure accelerating prices of public utilities and basic commodities against the decelerating income and shrinking opportunities,” he said.

“NASSA calls on the government to establish an effective monitoring system of oil price movements and to immediately craft measures that will make petroleum products accessible and affordable to the public.”

“Revisiting the e-VAT on oil prices could just be among the speedy reliefs. It should also look at Oil Deregulation Law to see how it could protect the public from corporate interest,” said Pabillo. [CBCPNews]

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