Transport groups who participate in massive protest actions against the skyrocketing cost of petroleum products in the local market should not be sanctioned for airing their complaints on the streets as this will curb their right to free speech and demonstration.
“So long as they stage an organized protest action, the government should not revoke or cancel their franchises because that would be a threat on their livelihood when they are only illustrating their frustration at the government for its ineffective methods in answering their problems, if they are trying at all,” she said.
“This is a free country so they should freely be able to express their sentiments about issues affecting their ranks without threat of losing their livelihood. They are the victims here because their sector is the most affected by these rounds of unabated oil price hikes. They find no aid from the government that sits idly by while they continue to suffer the brunt of these continuous increases that what away at the meager income they take home to their families,”
“And what of the industries that depend on transporting their goods? What will the government do once the problem begins to affect the flow of goods from the provinces to the cities? Would they also threaten businesses with sanctions if they complain or protest?” she said.
Magsaysay said that the government should be emphatic to the plight of the transport groups instead of simply dismissing their actions as a mere disruption of the flow of transportation. She added that the protesters are also sacrificing one day’s worth of income just to underscore their need for action.
“It is the government’s role to be sensitive to the plight of its people. It is its job to listen and to provide solutions. With their pronouncement of looming sanctions for those participating in the protest action, it merely shows that it does not understand how these problems are affecting various sectors in society and the urgency in which their action is needed. Its obliviousness to the matter at hand is a scary thought because if it continues on this path, then it will be too late when it ever decides to act at all.”#