House panel talks on Cha-cha opposed; Solve jobs crisis first, solons urged

Published July 21, 2020, 3:56 PM

by Raymund Antonio

A youth group on Tuesday voiced its opposition against the plan of the House committee on constitutional amendments to discuss Charter-change proposals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The House panel will convene after President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 to discuss amendments to the Constitution proposed by 1,489 mayors in the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines.

Members of the LMP have proposed constitutional reforms that include the institutionalization of Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling and the lifting of restrictions on foreign investments in industries, which Akbayan Youth denounced.

“More than 3,000 local businesses have closed down and more than 7.2 million Filipino workers are unemployed yet, the House is coming to the rescue instead of foreign investors and businesses!,” Akbayan Youth chair RJ Naguit said.

“Our recovery from this period of joblessness brought by the pandemic should be rooted in helping local, community-owned enterprises thrive and for affected Filipino workers be provided decent work and a living wage,” he stressed.

The Constitution requires that at least 60 percent of public utility enterprises’ capital stock must be reserved for the ownership, operation, and management of Filipino citizens.

The group questioned LMP’s proposal to allow foreign entities at a time when various sectors are still reeling from the ill-effects of COVID-19.

“How will tricycle drivers, jobless OFWs, and farmers benefit from full foreign ownership of investments?,” Naguit asked.

Akbayan Youth lamented affected Filipino workers need government’s attention more than the Chinese businessmen.

“If the government cannot even regulate foreign entities here with the tax evasion cases of POGOs, it cannot be trusted to handle granting foreigners full exclusive control and still look out for the economic interest of the broad majority of people,” Naguit said.