Cha-cha not needed, nor wanted, critics say | Inquirer News

Cha-cha not needed, nor wanted, critics say

/ 05:46 AM February 24, 2024

Even as the House of Representatives has opted to limit its proposed constitutional revisions to restrictive provisions, anti-Charter change (Cha-cha) coalitions have questioned the need for amendments due to such “alarming” economic provisions as allowing full foreign ownership of lands and industries.

A network of indigenous peoples’ groups held a protest at Mendiola Bridge in Manila on Friday saying the economic provisions further “threaten” their ancestral lands and territories.

Joining the protest action were: Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas; Sandugo-Alliance of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, Bai Indigenous Women’s Network; Siklab Philippine Indigenous Youth Network; Takder (Cordillera Youth Movement for Democracy and Prosperity); and Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino.


Beverly Longid, national convener of Katribu, told the Inquirer that the new mode to be pursued by proponents will not make a difference because “the framework of Cha-cha remains.”


Minorities affected

“The allowance of 100 percent foreign ownership of land, resources and public services are still there and one of the primarily affected by these are the national minorities—the natives and Bangsamoro (Muslim communities),” Longid said.

In a statement on Friday, the groups said that even in the current situation indigenous peoples are already “burdened with harmful projects” such as the Kaliwa Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Gened Dams in Apayao, the Jalaur Dam in Iloilo, and the Oceana gold mining operations in Nueva Vizcaya.

And if the proposed economic provisions would push through, the situation “will worsen,” the groups said.

They added: “These encroachments shall exacerbate and likely become more frequent under Cha-cha. We fear heightened militarization and increased violence against national minorities, often utilized to suppress local resistance. With Cha-cha, the plight of Indigenous and Moro Peoples will deteriorate, also impacting their access to essential services. Cha-cha threatens to perpetuate ethnocide.”

New group formed

Babae para sa Inang Bayang (Bida) network, a coalition of women’s rights groups, was launched on Friday, in response to the Charter change efforts by the Marcos administration.

The coalition also agreed with the points raised by indigenous peoples’ groups.


“It will erode the patriotic molding of the Filipino youth’s mind through the opening of the education sector to foreign ownership. It will leave the shaping of public opinion in foreign hands by allowing foreign ownership of mass media,” Bida said in a statement.

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, convener of the No to Chacha Network (NCW), told the Inquirer that there are proposals such as the Bernas Formula that will keep the checks and balances in the government but he stands firm on his opposition to any Charter change.

The Bernas Formula was proposed by one of the leading members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, which proposes a “fourth mode” of Charter change in which both houses will tackle proposed constitutional amendments separately and decide by a vote of three-fourths from each of the chambers.

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NCW is composed of 1Sambayan, No to Cha-cha Coalition, Movement Against Tyranny, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and other church, labor and agriculture groups along with Rep. France Castro of the ACT Teachers party list and the office of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, among others.

TAGS: Cha-cha, Constitution

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