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Rallyists call Cha-cha "the worst man-made calamity to hit the Filipino people"

PRESS RELEASE
January 21, 2020

Rallyists call Cha-cha "the worst man-made calamity to hit the Filipino people"

HUNDREDS of rallyists from labor groups and cause-oriented organizations welcomed the opening of the Lower House Monday with a rally against Charter Change, labeling it as the "worst man-made calamity to hit the Filipino people". Batasan is set to tackle House Concurrent Resolution No. 1, which was introduced by Cagayan de Oro 2nd district representative Cong. Rufus Rodriguez.

The said resolution would proposed major amendments to the 1987 Constitution, which includes the term extension of legislators and local officials, the reversal of the remaining protectionist economic provisions by mere legislation, and the increase of Senate membership from 24 to 27 representing 9 regions. The amendment to the composition of the Senate is a prelude to a federal form of government.

The rally was organized by labor coalition PAGGAWA or Pagkakakisa ng Uring Manggagawa, and was joined by contingents from Sanlakas and Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM).

Ka Leody de Guzman, spokesperson of the PAGGAWA labor coalition and chair of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino declared, "Kaninong kinatawan ang mga kongresistang ito, na habang abala ang taumbayan kung paano tutulungan ang mga nasalanta ng bulkang Taal ay inuna pa ang pansariling interes ng kanya-kanyang mga angkan?".

He adds that the congressmen do not represent the people, especially the toiling and impoverished majority. They represent the selfish interests of their own political clans. More so, they represent the interests of foreign capital that seeks to plunder our resource for super profit. This version of Cha-cha is the worst man-made calamity to hit the Filipino people.

"Imbes na unahin ang kapakanan ng libo-libong nasasalanta ng sakuna gaya ng pagpapataas sa calamity fund at muling pagpapagana sa Project NOAH, ang mauuna pa sa adyenda ng Batasan ay ang pagpapahaba ng termino para mas matagal nilang mapakinabangan ang kaban ng bayan. Ang lakas ng loob at kapal ng mukha! Our lawmakers have the gall to call themselves the representatives of the people even if all they think about is how to preserve the dominance of their families in their respective feifdoms," Ernie Arellano of the National Confederation of Labor (NCL) added.

PLM chair Sonny Melencio furthered, "What would happen if the Constitutional limits to foreign ownership are removed by regular legislation? First, it means that the highest law of the land was amended by a mere branch of government - without the convening of a constituent assembly or a constitutional convention and a national plebiscite to ratify proposed amendments to the charter. Second, and more importantly, it opens the doors for the wholesale national plunder of our resources by foreign monopoly capital. We might as well treat the Filipino people as 'bakwit' (or evacuatee) in a Philippines that would be fully owned by foreigners. This version of charter change by self-proclaimed legal scholar Cong. Rodriguez is truly a calamity Cha-Cha".

Activist lawyer and Sanlakas secretary-general Aaron Pedrosa concluded, "The 1987 Constitution is not perfect. It aimed for the Filipinization of the economy while blurring the distinction between rich and poor Filipinos, which is one of its chief defects. In doing so, it did not place a bar against the concentration of ownership of our natural and man-made resources in the hands of a few oligarchs".

"We want an economy that serves the interests of the people, especially the working and propertyless millions. It is a people-first, labor-first economy, which should be enshrined in the Constitution because the welfare of the people should be the supreme law. Yet, the Rodriguez proposal would aggravate the current defects of the existing Constitution, by allowing the monopoly of the local economy not just by Filipino billionaires but by global corporations whose sole interest is to extract billions of profit without regard to our ecological, environmental and human resources".

The groups vowed to hold more protests against Cha-cha in the coming weeks.###

For more details, please contact: Ka Leody de Guzman, PAGGAWA spokesperson @ 0920-5200672

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