Bishop on Cha-cha: PH has 'most liberalized economic policy' in Asia

Bishop on Cha-cha: PH has ‘most liberalized economic policy’ in Asia

/ 06:38 PM February 22, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Why push for economic Charter change (Cha-cha) when the Philippines has “the most liberalized” economic policy in the entire Asia?

Kidapawan Bishop Jolin Colin Bagaforo pointed this out during Thursday’s ecumenical gathering held in Intramuros, Manila.

The gathering consisted of three parts: Panaghoy, Panalangin, and Panindigan — all of which served as a platform to block ongoing Cha-cha efforts in Congress.


READ: Cha-cha: No for framers, yes for foreign chambers 


“[Sa] katunayan, ang Pilipinas ang merong pinaka liberalized economic policy sa buong Asya. Kung ang gusto nilang palitan ay ‘yung foreign ownership ng ating lupa ay palagay ko’y nakakatakot ‘yun. Isipin na lang ninyo — ang pinakamayaman ngayon ay China,” said Bagaforo in an ambush interview.

(In fact, the Philippines has the most liberalized economic policy in Asia. If they want to change policies on foreign ownership of our land, I think that’s scary. Think of this — the richest as of now is China.)

According to Bagaforo, many are doubting the ongoing Cha-cha drive due to its “lack of transparency.”

“[A]no ba talaga ang hangarin nila? Malalim pa siguro kesa economic provisions,” he said.

(What is their goal? Maybe it’s deeper than economic provisions.)

‘Congress time’


In the same interview, labor coalition Nagkaisa spokesperson Rene Magtubo backed Bagaforo’s statement, saying there’s no guarantee that there will be more jobs in the Philippines once foreign investments come in.

“Tama si Bishop — bukas na bukas na po ang ating ekonomiya. Ang problema natin ay distribusyon ng ating yamang likha ng mga manggagawa,” said Magtubo.

(The bishop is right — our economy is very open. Our problem is the distribution of our natural resources for our workers.)

Magtubo pointed out the absence of unions and zero programs for salary increases.

“Hanggang sa ngayon ay hindi gumagalaw ang Kongreso, kaya ang panawagan namin sa kanila ay gamitin natin ang Congress time — ang buwis ng mamamayan na ibinabayad sa inyo para pag usapan ang tunay na issue: pagbabago sa kabuhayan, murang bigas, regular na trabaho, at programa at serbisyong makatutugon sa kahirapan ng taumbayan,” he said.

(Until now, it remains stagnant in Congress. That’s why our call for them is to use Congress time — [as well as] the tax of the people to talk about real pressing issues: jobs for the people, cheaper rice, regular jobs, and programs meant as a response to poverty.)

Meanwhile, opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, who was also present during the interview, emphasized that there’s no need to amend the Constitution.

READ: Keenly watching the Cha-cha train

Hontiveros said what needs to be resolved is hunger, poverty, and lack of decent-paying jobs in the Philippines.

Under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s directive, the Senate is leading its talks on proposed amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

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In light of this, lawmakers in the House of Representatives likewise filed the Resolution of Both Houses No. 7, mimicking the Senate’s proposed amendments.

TAGS: Cha-cha

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