MANILA (21-March-2012) — A Catholic bishop urged government to regulate the oil industry in the face of unabated oil price increases that put a heavy burden on the life of ordinary Filipinos.
Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, in a Lenten message, said the Aquino administration should show concern on the millions of ordinary folks who suffer the brunt of spiralling prices of commodities spawned by unregulated oil price increases by oil companies.
“The unabated oil price increases result to the skyrocketing price of basic commodities, which in turn, add a heavier burden to our already suffering people,” Alminaza, also the head convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG), said.
“In the context of the Philippine society, we witness the miserable situation of a sizeable number of our people who are hungry, jobless and homeless,” he said.
The Aquino government, the prelate said, should take steps to alleviate the people’s sufferings by regulating the oil industry.
“We thus call on the Aquino Government to manifest that it is indeed concerned with the well-being of the Filipino people by taking steps to alleviate their sufferings such as: regulating the oil industry so that oil companies will be stopped from overpricing the price of oil; removing the VAT on oil; and instituting price control over basic commodities,” he said.
Research by independent institutions has revealed that oil companies have overpriced the pump price of oil by 8% to 43%.
Added to the overpricing, according to Alminaza, is the 12% VAT that government slaps on oil products.
The government is said to have benefited from the unregulated oil price increases as it earned revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12 %VAT on oil.
Alminaza echoed Pope Benedict’s Lenten message wherein the pontiff urged the faithful to be “concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24).
He said “the Holy Father invites us to reflect on the heart of Christian life which is charity. ‘Being concerned’ means being responsible for our brothers and sisters and not being indifferent to their plight.”
Pope Benedict XVI also exhorted in his Lenten message that we must not remain silent before evil, Alminaza added.
Quoting the pope’s exhortation in Caritas in Veritate, he said governments must safeguard and value the human person who is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life.
The prelate also said that God’s gift of salvation should stir everyone to work for a transformed society.
“May Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection inspire all of us to work for a transformed world: a new heaven and a new earth where there is no more hunger, injustice, oil price hike, exorbitant taxes, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, graft and corruption, unfair labor practice, land monopoly, profit-orientedness and insatiable greed; where all people enjoy the fullness of life, truth, justice and genuine peace,” he said. (CBCPNews)
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