TRANSPORT groups, activists and students staged a protest action yesterday against the continuing fuel price increases in the country.
Similar actions were held in different parts of Indonesia against a government plan to reduce oil subsidies.
Students walked out of their classes and gathered at several “protest centers” in Metro Manila.
“This is a show of force against the seemingly absolute freedom of the [oil companies] to increase prices whenever they want,” said Vencer Crisostomo, chairperson of Anakbayan, a national youth organization.
Schools and universities in the national capital suspended classes earlier in anticipation of the protest action.
Police tightened security around the offices of major oil firms while soldiers were deployed to help stranded passengers.
As of midday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the protest action was peaceful and there were no reports of commuters stranded in the streets.
“Since no one asked for (military trucks) and there were no stranded commuters, it only means everything was peaceful,” said military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos Jr.
In the southern Philippine city of Davao, protesters threw red paint at an effigy of President Benigno Aquino in front of an oil depot.
In Indonesia, hundreds of workers blocked two filling stations in Tangerang, Banten province, while dozens of activists from various organizations staged a rally in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta. University students protested against the plan in Medan, North Sumatra.
The Indonesian government plans to raise the price of fuel by 30 percent to 6,000 rupiah (US$0.66) per liter next month.
A bigger rally of some 50,000 workers is expected in Jakarta on March 21.
See also ucanews.com