Press Release
February 25, 2010

Pasang Masda backs Enrile's senatorial bid

Pasang Masda Partylist Group, headed by Ka Robert "Obet" Martin, recently pledged their support for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile's senatorial bid during a lunch meeting held last Monday in Makati.

Pasang Masda stands for Pinagkaisahang Sangguniang Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association, a nationwide association of jeepney drivers.

During the meeting, officers and members of the Pasang Masda expressed their concern over the seemingly immediate and constant overnight price increases of oil companies, which ultimately affects public utility drivers, operators and commuters.

"Sa tuwing may pabago-bago sa world market, agad nilang inaadjust ang presyo ng krudo ayon sa world crude price index. Ano ang nangyayari sa imbentaryo nila na nakuha nila sa mas mababang halaga? Kapag naman may pagbaba sa presyo ng krudo sa buong mundo, hindi nila agad ibinababa ang presyo ng kanilang binebentang gasolina," lamented Martin.

"Ang mga jeepney operator na maliliit, isang tsuper, isang unit. Kapag tumataas at hindi na-adjust ang pamasahe, they are directly affected by the oil price hikes," Martin added.

Enrile agreed that for the longest time, oil companies have had a heavy hand in using the world crude index as reason to hike fuel prices.

"The cartel-like behavior of oil companies in the Philippines is a clear example of a market practice which I seek to penalize and prohibit under the Anti-Trust bill which we already approved on third reading," Enrile said.

"There is a need to protect consumers from exorbitant consumer prices and unfair business practices of unscrupulous businessmen especially this summer season," Enrile added, noting that prices of goods and utilities, especially fuel, electricity and water, see a sharp rise in consumption due to extreme weather conditions.

"In the case of oil companies, they have to justify their price increases especially when there is no or very little variance in their increases. There is a need to check the lead player who is being followed by the other players and its market share. Mapapatunayan dun na ang galaw ng presyo ng langis ay minamaniobra at hindi gawa lamang ng merkado," Enrile explained.

The members of the group lauded the pro-consumer advocacy of Enrile among which includes quality and affordable medicines, lower cost of electricity, and improved and cheaper mobile phone services. "People, especially the poor and old, should not be made to suffer the summer heat just because they are forced to cut down on basic necessities just to save money. It is too bad that fellow lawmakers did not see fit to pass the two bills that will surely benefit the consuming public," Enrile said.

Enrile laments that two important pieces of pro-consumer legislation, the proposed Anti-Trust Act and NTC Reorganization Act, remained pending in Congress after it adjourned session in February.

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