Bayan Muna warns against Charter change proposal that will back China’s position in WPS

Published November 15, 2019, 4:28 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Ben Rosario 

The Philippines will be rolling out the red carpet for China’s entry in the Philippines under a new component of the Charter change bid that seeks to delete the constitutional provision that would protect Philippine interest over the contested West Philippine Sea.

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna Party list Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate aired this claim as he assailed the alleged renewed efforts of the Duterte administration to push for Charter change.

The House Committee on Constitutional. Revision is currently holding public hearings to study a number of legislative measures proposing amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

Zarate, together with Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares, said Filipinos should be prepared “for a full battle against a “pro-China and pro-dynasty Cha-cha in the waning years” of the Duterte presidency.

This will come in the form of a Charter change proposal to delete constitutional provisions that will “protect the Philippines from China’s expansionism.”

Zarate urged House members to reject the Charter change bid and oppose any attempt by the House leadership “to ram it down the throats of the Filipino people”.

“The recent pronouncement of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform to again push for amending the Constitution for economic reforms by allowing entry of foreign business makes this current Cha-cha the most dangerous because it will open up the country further to countries like China,” said the Bayan Muna officials in a joint statement.

“The latest Cha-cha draft was RBH 15 and was approved by Pres. Duterte’s super majority in the House of Representatives overwhelmingly last year. It deletes many provisions in the 1987 Constitution which results in the opening up of the Philippines to countries like China,” they claimed.

Zarate and Colmenares described the proposed amendments as an assurance of a “China constitution.”

“It deletes the requirement under Section 2 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution that the “exploration, development and utilization of natural resources” can only be undertaken by the State through joint ventures “with Filipino citizens or corporations at least sixty percent of whose capital is owned by Filipinos,” the two solons said.

He said this means that there will no longer be a constitutional barrier to Pres. Duterte undertaking joint exploration with the Chinese government or 100% Chinese owned corporations,” he added.

“This Cha-cha also deleted the provision under Section 2 that requires the President to “notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision,” stated the Bayan Muna lawmakers.

Zarate said that “the Inter-Agency Task Force’ promise of electoral reforms because of Cha-chas under Pres. Duterte contained provisions that delete the constitutional prohibition of political dynasty and term extension is also a sham.

He claimed Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has admitted that “indeed term extension was a main agenda in Cha-cha”.

“Considering that Pres. Duterte’s family controls many government position, it is a foregone conclusion that Pres. Duterte will support the deletion of political dynasty in the Constitution,” said Zarate.