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Proposed Cha-Cha to widen China’s entry to Philippine territory—militant partylist

/ 03:06 PM November 17, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A militant partylist group warned against the renewed move by the Duterte administration to amend the 1987 Constitution, saying such a move would be geared towards allowing China to further intrude into the country’s maritime territory and sovereignty.

“Cha-Cha has a new component—deleting constitutional provisions that protect the Philippines from China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea as well as providing China red carpet entry into the Philippines,” said a joint statement issued by Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares and his partymate Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate over the weekend.

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Cagayan de Oro’s second district Rep. Rodriguez said the move to amend the Constitution had been revived, starting with the holding of public consultations around the country this month, with Cagayan de Oro as its first stop on Friday.

Both Colmenares and Zarate said Filipinos had to be wary of Cha-Cha’s revival as they urged the public to fight the pro-China and pro-political dynasty’s charter change in the “waning” years of President Duterte’s presidency.

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“Nine out of 10 Filipinos believe that we should assert our sovereignty,” Colmenares said. “Cha-cha is a way of surrendering it. Filipinos (should) draw the line when it comes to fighting foreign oppressors like China and the US,” he added.

He described the recent push for Cha-cha in the name of economic reforms as “most dangerous” because it would allow the entry of foreign businesses and would open the country further to countries like China.

“It deletes the requirement under Section 2 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which says the ‘exploration, development and utilization of natural resources’ can only be undertaken by the state through joint ventures ‘with Filipino citizens or corporations at least sixty percent of whose capital should be owned by Filipinos,’” he said.

“This means that there will no longer be a constitutional barrier to [Duterte] undertaking joint explorations with the Chinese government or 100 per cent Chinese-owned corporations,” he added.

Worse, the latest version of Cha-Cha will also delete the Constitutional requirement under Section 7 Article XIII for government to protect the Philippine “marine resources and subsistence fishermen from foreign intrusion,” he said.

Colmenares appealed to members of the House, even those loyal to the President, not to give in and hand the country over to foreigners.

“Presidents come and go and in a few years’ time, President Duterte will no longer be there,” he said. “But if we amend the Constitution, this will place the future of our sons and daughters under the control of China. We cannot sacrifice the future of the next generation of Filipinos for our loyalty to a temporary President,” he said.

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Zarate also raised the promise of electoral reforms, zeroing in on the political dynasty and the extension of term of elected public officials in the proposed Constitutional amendment.

“Considering that President Duterte’s family controls many government positions, it is a foregone conclusion that [he] will support the deletion of the provision against political dynasty in the Constitution,” he said.

But Rep. Rodriguez, head of the Lower House’ constitutional amendments committee, expressed optimism that the Lower House would approve the proposed amendments as early as the first half of 2020.

“We will definitely approve the amendments within the term of Pres. Duterte. [We] still have two and a half years. We have sufficient time,” he said in a text message Saturday.

He said that by December 11 this year, his committee would already have approved the proposed amendments; in January, the amendment would be approved by the plenary so that by February, it would already be in the senate.

In a previous interview, Rodriguez said he expected to transmit the approved amendments to the senate by April next year.

Edited by JE
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TAGS: Bayan Muna, Cha-cha, Charter change, China, consitution
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