March 1, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Some senators say charter change not needed at this time

Senator Grace Poe. Photo from FB

Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Grace Poe said that there’s no need at this point in time to change the 1987 Constitution. .

Pimentel and Poe in separate statements explained why Charter change (Cha-cha) should not be a priority at this time.

“Our people are too preoccupied with daily living struggles. Although we need constitutional changes to improve our system of government, this can wait as we should first address the basic daily living problems like where to get food to feed the family, the continued increase in prices (inflation), where to get a job, corruption, the high cost of living and even of dying, and many more basic problems,” Pimentel said.

Senator Koko Pimentel. Senate photo

Pimentel questioned the move to change the constitution as to why prioritize the changing of the economic provisions in the Constitution when what needs to be changed are the political provisions. .

Poe, for her part said that there are already laws such as the Public Service Act and Trade Liberalization Act which are “meant to encourage more investments, employment, and economic growth”

“As for the economic provisions, we’ve passed major legislation that clarified the economic provisions of the Constitution,” she said.

“There’s no need at the moment for a [Constituent Assembly]. Unless the proponents are pushing for another agenda,” said Poe.

Meanwhile, Senator Robinhood Padilla has proposed amending the 1987 Constitution via a constituent assembly where the Senate and House of Representatives would vote separately.

Padilla explained that the country “must amend its Constitution by removing these restrictive economic provisions to allow foreign businesses to directly invest in a more conducive landscape.”

Meanwhile, rural groups slammed the move to change the constitution, they argued that this is not the top priority of what the people need especially that the country is facing a food crisis, rising number of jobless Filipinos and high inflation.

Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, the charter change under the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 proposed revisions to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution will worsen the farmers and peasant women’s state of landlessness and the country’s food insecurity.

The group added that the removal of the remaining protectionist provisions in the 1987 Constitution and the government’s dependence on foreign direct investments will further lead to plunder of our natural resources through the expansion of agricultural plantations, mining operations and other businesses by landlords and corporations both local and foreign while Filipino farmers, peasant women, agricultural workers and fisher folk are pushed deeper into poverty and hunger.

For fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) expressed worries that charter change will intensify foreign plunder of PH resources if the protections provided by the existing constitution are removed

“The Marcos administration should be reminded that even though this dangerous Cha-cha is not yet in place, the presence of Chinese fishing vessels is already rampant in the West Philippine Sea. What more if the only constitutional defense of our sovereignty would be completely eliminated? This would normalize the encounters between Filipino fishers and foreign vessels embarking on large-scale fishing expeditions and other forms of plunder in our territorial waters” Pamalakaya said.

They urged all patriotic and democracy-loving Filipinos to oppose Charter Change and defend PH sovereignty against exploitation of Marcos, foreign powers and landlords.