The United Negros Drivers Operators Center yesterday said it welcomes political groups and the public to join and support their protest rally at the Fountain of Justice at Araneta Street in Bacolod City 2 p.m. today to call for the abolition of the expanded-value added tax on oil products, the repeal the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, and oil price hikes.
Bacolod City Police Director Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz said plain-clothes and uniformed policemen will be deployed at the Fountain of Justice to monitor the rally and ensure that it is being held peacefully.
At a press conference yesterday in Bacolod City, UNDOC secretary general Jesse Ortega, said the government must immediately investigate the skyrocketing oil prices, the short-selling of petroleum products, and the price disparity in Negros Occidental.
Bayan-Negros spokesperson Christian Tuayon said the protest is a nationally coordinated “Protestang Bayan Laban sa Oil Price Hike,” adding that they do not only support the transport group but also represent the public in their clamor against the unending oil price increases.
The group also called Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. to act on the oil price increases and not just focus on food security projects.
Bayan also asked all representatives of Negros Occidental and the lone district of Bacolod City to support and lobby for the House Bill 4355 or the Downstream Oil Industry Regulation Act of 2011 filed by Bayan Muna representatives Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño.
The bill seeks to create effective means for the government to regulate the downstream oil industry and make sure that oil prices are more reasonable, Tuayon said.
De la Paz, meanwhile, appealed to the protestors to “keep their cool” while airing their sentiments and avoid obstructing traffic at Araneta Street. He also requested them not to force other drivers who will not join them.
De la Paz said that while they will closely monitor the rally, protestors should also police their own ranks and ensure that the activity is held in an orderly manner.
Bacolod City Traffic Management Unit head, Chief Insp. Luisito Acebuche said they are readying a re-routing scheme in case the rally will cause a traffic jam at the portion of Araneta street in front of the Fountain of Justice.
Vehicles coming from the south may turn right to San Sebastian and turn left to Locsin Street to avoid the rally, he said.
Ortega assured the public that they will not hamper the ongoing Western Visayas Athletics Meet Association as there will be no transport strike.*LTG/APN