TACLOBAN CITY– Various progressive and Church-based organizations are up in arms following the plan to change the country’s 1987 Constitution through the people’s initiative.
“I do not favor charter change whether it is people’s initiative or constituent assembly. Charter change is not the answer to inflation, unemployment, housing crisis, education crisis, corruption, and economic crisis in the country,” said lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, leader of Sanlakas.
He said charter change only benefits the politicians who want to extend their term of office.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said the signature campaign for people’s initiative being done in the communities “has no legal or moral basis and has been exposed as a grand swindle.”
“The people’s initiative can and will be defeated because it is advocating self-serving changes in the Constitution and is being undertaken through highly questionable means,” added Reyes in a public statement.
Reyes maintained that instead of charter change, the nation’s leaders should focus on creating more livelihood, efficient public transport system, improving human rights conditions, justice, education, health, national industrialization, and democracy.
President Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of the Catholic Church’s social arm, earlier said that “any attempt to alter the Constitution, especially when shrouded in secrecy and lacking genuine public participation, raises serious concerns about its true motives.”
“Instead of wasting time and resources on amending the Constitution, the government should prioritize measures to eradicate corruption and ensure the efficient and effective delivery of basic social services to our people,” said the bishop.
According to Bagaforo, charter change “is not a silver bullet for the Philippines’ economic woes, particularly the pervasive issue of corruption.”
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has always taught that ‘If the Constitution is to be revised at all, the process should lead to a greater defense and promotion of the moral values of human dignity and human rights, integrity and truth, participation and solidarity, and the common good,” he said.
(RONALD O. REYES)