Condor Piston Bicol is now poised to stage a massive transport strike to complement the Black Friday Protests being held against the weekly oil price hike. But will these help solve lower the costs of fuel as well as curtail the impending increase in the transportation fares?
Apart from the one or two days gas that will be conserved as a result of the strike, no other benefit will be derived from the planned demonstration. The Arroyo Government is already deaf to hear the public outcry and is already thick-faced to feel shame. Aside from the fact that the orientation of the Government is to be reactive and never pro-active, there are also some troubles that start to boil in the international community.
Well, just like in the case of the ZTE Scandal, the cause of these troubles is greed. The United States, fearing that it will lose the monopoly of nuclear power production, tries to control Iran. The Muslim Republic, however, insists that it only aims to produce nuclear energy – just like the purpose of our failed Nuclear Power Plant in Bataan. The US is unconvinced so it initiated talks with the Czech Republic and Poland for the setting-up of anti-missile outposts in their yards. The Czech Republic agreed and a few days ago, a memorandum of agreement was signed.
In response to the actions of the US, Iran demonstrated its military might by testing missiles near the sea where oil pipelines and oil-carrying cargo ships pass. If war occurs, it is expected that one-fourth of the world’s supply of oil will be affected. Not only will the oil passageways be bombed but Iran will also stop producing oil considering that the country is considered as the world’s third largest country in terms of oil reserves.
But this is just one side of the story. The action of the United States, particularly the setting-up of alleged anti-missile radar systems in the Czech Republic, has also sparked tensions between the country of George Bush and Russia. The Russian Government thinks the military stations are aimed at the former soviet country and not really at Iran. Russia’s accusations are not baseless because the United States still considers it as the strongest rival in nuclear power and military might. Second, the US turned down the offer of former Russian President Vladimir Putin to construct the military bases near the Russian borders, Abkhazia, specifically. And, lastly, Russia benefited nothing when it offered its help immediately after the 9-11 Attack in the United States. Thus, even if there will be no US-Iran War, the US-Russian War may be inevitable. International relations analysts, in fact, are already considering the present US-Russian relations as that of “going back to the Cold War Era”.
Not only this, Russia is also among the top ten countries in terms of oil production as well as oil reserves. If US-Russian war happens – whether that may be in cold or warm blood – oil production will surely be affected. The result will always be towards the increase of prices. As of this writing the price of oil in the international market is already at US$147 per barrel and one of the causes is the boiling tensions. And this is expected to further increase in the next few days as assessments continue with regards the US-Iran and US-Russian relations. The effect? The hastening of the earlier forecast of P100 price per liter of gasoline.
Thus, the question: What is the Philippine Government doing?
The answer: Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Wala. Wara. Uda.
Worse, nobody even knows what is the status of the Philippines’ claims to the Spratly Islands as earlier there were reports of a “sell-out” of the claims to China as part of the ZTE Scandal. To note, the Spratlys, particularly the Kalayaan Group which the Philippines own, promises oil reserves which can be used for the local supply thus lessening the need for imports.
In simple terms, under the present leadership, the Philippines is in a hopeless situation. The only palliative the Arroyos can offer is a 20% discount for gasoline purchased by senior citizens – a bill authored by Datu Arroyo, a non-Bicolano Congressman of the First District of Camarines Sur, which was also sponsored by the Mona Liza Senator, Lito Lapid, in the House of the Senate.
Well, the present leadership is just what the Filipinos deserve. It’s the price of the P500 worth of votes sold during elections.
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Tip: The oil price hike also has complementary effects. Automobiles running on oil fuels will be sold for low prices while the prices of pedal-powered bicycles are expected to increase.###
(This article will also come out in Albay Journal under the column, The Sidelines.)