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Another transport strike looms over Western Visayas

Another transport strike stemming from high fuel prices looms later this month over Western Visayas, this time in Negros Occidental province. The United Negros Drivers Operators Center (UNDOC) will head the two-day strike in Bacolod City on May 16 and 17, questioning the disparity of fuel prices in Negros Occidental and Metro Manila. A news report in Visayan Daily Star said motorists in Negros Occidental complain why they pay about P5 a liter more in fuel prices compared to Metro Manila. UNDOC secretary-general Jessie Ortega said the group will ask the support of taxi groups and some members of the Federation of Bacolod Drivers Association (FBDA) to join the two-day strike. However, Ortega said the UNDOC does not expect FBDA’s full cooperation since it is their “rival" transport group. Cris Abunda of the National Federation of Sugar Planters said he personally supports the move of UNDOC to hold a strike. He said he will consult with the association’s members if they will back the organized protest. Ben Ortega of the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said businessmen are willing to close their establishments and not buy gasoline during the strike. Diego Malacad of the FEBACTODA said the group is giving its 100-percent support to the strike. Aniceto Buenafe, director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod, said the group also supports the transport strike and will deliver sermons touching on the oil price issues. — JE, GMA News