‘Focus on battle vs COVID-19, not Cha-cha’

Published July 19, 2020, 12:43 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Two lawmakers said Sunday that any initiative to amend the Constitution should be put on the back burner, stressing that government should focus all its efforts in the country’s battle against COVID-19. 


“I ask everyone, especially people in the government and the mayors, to be sensitive to the needs of the people and to prioritize their needs instead of pushing for their constitutional reform agenda. Now is not the time for this,”  AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. after around 1,488 municipal mayors who are members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines pushed for constitutional reforms.

“Sa panahon ngayon, dapat ang pinagkakaabalahan at ang atensyon ng gobyerno ay kung papaano susugpuin ang COVID at kung papaano tutugunan ang pagnangailangan ng napakaraming Pilipino na nawalan nang trabaho, nagugutom, at naghihirap dahil sa pandemya,” Garbin said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the utterly preposterous Cha-cha move should be junked.

“The obsession with Charter change shows another misplaced priority of the Duterte administration even if it is yet to fully address the COVID pandemic in our country. The move for Cha-cha especially now is a waste of time, effort, and the much needed funds that should be rechanneled in fighting COVID-19,” he said.

Garbin and Zarate said the budget being utilized for Cha-cha should be realigned and used to buy more reliable Personal
Protective Equipment for health workers, conduct genuine mass testing, and intensify pro-active contact tracing.

The Cha-cha budget can also be used for relief goods and can be added to the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to be given to lockdown affected families, Zarate added.

“Now they are saying that Cha-cha can give more budget to municipalities by allowing foreign ownership of businesses and a higher share in all taxes. But once Cha-cha is ongoing what is to stop them to extend term limits, allow 100 percent ownership of lands and other proposals to the detriment of Filipinos and our country,” Zarate said.

“Kung titignan, unti-unti ng nakukuha ang administrasyong Duterte ang mga kagustuhan nito para lalong sikilin ang karapatan ng mamamayan at manatili sa poder, sa pamamagitan ng ng di pagbigay ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN at terror law, ngayon Cha-cha naman ang kanilang ipipilit (If you look at it, the Duterte administration, little by little, is reaching its goal to trample on the rights of the people and stay in power, through the non-renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN and Terror Law,  and now they are imposing Cha-cha),” Zarate added.