Rough Cuts: Not the cause but the approach

Members of the local chapter of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Davao City must have taken a cue from the local police office.

It is an open secret that the local government, since the time of former mayor and now President Rodrgio Duterte, has been providing some kind of allowances to members of the police organization in the city.

The policemen are given monthly rice subsidy and they also receive substantial bonuses in cash and kind during Christmas season. The assistance is over and above what are given to the police organization itself like fuel subsidies for police vehicles, office supplies and other related office requirements in police administration.

However, all that have accrued to the policemen and their office are voluntarily given by the city government.

These were not demanded; not even requested. The local government just saw the need to enhance the moral and the mobile capability of the policemen and their office to protect the city’s residents.

In contrast, the way the teachers communicated what they wanted from the city government appears to be more of a demand bordering to a manifestation of envy. That is, if the local government is generous to the policemen serving the city, then they too should equally be afforded the same emoluments. Or so it is the message hidden between the lines of their statements.

Pardon us. Our teacher members of the ACT may brand our opinion as judgmental. But we can’t help but interpret their strategy as more of a demand than a request. Why, is not trooping to the City Council bringing placards asking for a fixed amount of P2,000 for monthly allowance and P2,500 quarterly rice subsidy a form of intimidation?

To us it is tantamount to bullying the City Government to come across, short of sending a message that they must be given the amount they are asking or else…

What a difference it would be if the teachers’ “request” was first officially communicated to the Office of the City Mayor that would then evaluate its legal aspect, determine the city’s financial capability, and if found legally tenable and financially viable would forward the same request to the City Council for legislative authorization.

But no.

It was apparent that the ACT members went direct to the City Council armed with pre-printed materials complete with figures of the amount they wanted as allowance and rice subsidies. They even raised print-out of materials that they may have put on placards they used in their protest actions. And these placard replicas showed teachers with clenched fists raised on the air.

Honestly, we strongly sympathize with the cause that our teachers are advocating — a bigger take home pay that could take them home with some little more money to buy something for the family.

We feel they deserve such add-ons to what the government is giving them now. And we also think that teaching the children of the city from whom the future leaders of Davao may rise should be considered enough reason for the local leadership to consider.

But we cannot blame the leaders of Davao City if they will be hard on the ACT teachers because instead of using the approach that would pinch the former’s emotion the latter’s scheme of communicating their legitimate needs is more a demand couched in an anger tone.

Good thing the election season is fast approaching. It makes the councilors’ response more diplomatic in nature.

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Now we can see some semblance of competition offered by new players in the retailing business of fuel products right in Davao City.

Motorists are aware that the current Big four in the oil industry of the country are retailing their oil products like diesel, gasoline and kerosene, and even liquid petroleum gas as almost exactly the same price per liter. This indicates that their officials are talking with each other and decide among themselves how much they will sell during a particular period of time.

The cost of diesel or gasoline for example, the big 4′s retail prices are most of the time similar. If there are variations these would only be a matter of centavos from five to ten cents per liter at the most.

But somewhere going south between Bangkal and Toril, there are new small players in the fuel industry that sell diesel and gasoline almost P5 lower per liter than that of the price of the Big 4.

And we discovered this by accident when we were coming home from the farm to our city resident last week. We were intrigued at the long lines of taxi cabs waiting to be gassed up. Since we were stuck in traffic we asked one driver what was up there. The answer was short. Their diesel and gasoline cost much lower.

So, we decided to join the line. And true indeed, what sells at P46 plus in the Big 4′s gas stations sells only at a little over P41 in those stations that are not far from each other.

Thank you for giving flesh to the true intention of the Oil Industry Deregulation Law.

Posted in Opinion