When President Aquino sought US support for joining the Trans Pacific Partnership during his US visit, the US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. declared…“[we] have to change laws, issue executive orders and frankly, introduce amendments to the Constitution.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – While the nation grapples with heavy rains and the widespread floods it invariably brings, after the country has been severely deforested, Filipinos are being treated to what the progressive and patriotic groups scorn as a badly choreographed prelude to chacha or charter change.
The chacha proposals on the table revolve around “only the economic provisions,” the proponents promised. They would “only” remove restrictions to the inflow of foreign investments into the country, and disengage from the political rider of term extension that led to the wholesale rejection of first charter change initiatives.
“Aquino wants to build the path of least resistance for their ‘chacha’ maneuvers by projecting itself as disinterested while building consensus among the reactionaries to swiftly carry-out ‘chacha’,” the Communist Party of the Philippines said in an emailed statement.
Indeed, for weeks until last Monday, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III reportedly played cool to charter change suggestions by both leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Mainstream media reports portrayed Aquino as someone who has to be convinced in a meeting in Malacañang last Monday with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte before he “gratified” the leaders of Congress by showing openness to charter amendments, and telling his economic managers to study the proposals for amending the economic provisions of the 1987 constitution.
Despite Aquino’s supposed coyness to chacha, the peasants who joined the Peoples’ SONA came prepared to counter Aquino’s ‘resurrected chacha’. (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
But critics from progressive and patriotic groups are still not swayed. From their statements, they are one in pointing out that aside from the fact that the track record of both chambers of Congress and President Aquino shows that they cannot be trusted to do what they promised they would – this is the Congress that “passed obnoxious laws such as the Oil Deregulation law and the EPIRA” – the economic changes they now want to push through charter amendments are in itself “a recipe for disaster” for most Filipinos.
A choreography for further Filipino ruin
“We knew from the beginning of this drama that President Aquino will sooner or later come out as supportive of Cha-cha,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). He reasoned that a president whose main program is promoting Public-Private Partnerships will surely support 100-percent foreign ownership of land and public utilities in the country..... MORE