Proposed Cha-Cha could lead to plunder of PH resources -- militants

Some progressive groups have raised concerns over the renewed push by lawmakers for Charter change to amend the “restrictive” economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

According to Anakbayan, another attempt at Cha-cha would serve as an “extremely dangerous” move as the country is still battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to resume its Cha-cha hearings on Wednesday, with both its chair Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco saying they would only focus on changing economic provisions.

Velasco had filed in July, 2019, the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2 that would call both the House of Representatives and Senate to convene into a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to change the Constitution.

“The proposed charter change is set to further sell out our national patrimony to transnational corporations and other foreign investors,” Anakbayan secretary general Vinz Simon said.

He explained the economic amendments will also push for “full liberalization and full rights to plunder our country’s natural resources.”

Militant fishers’ group Pamalakaya warned against the exploitation of the country’s marine resources should the economic provisions of the Constitution be amended.

Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said the removal of the economic provisions would further allow the entry of foreign fishing vessels into the Philippines’ fishing grounds.

“The proposed Cha-cha would further exploit the country’s land and sea resources because it will remove the protections on our sovereignty and patrimony granted by the existing Constitution,” he said.

While lawmakers may claim they would only tackle economic provisions, the two groups also asserted it can also be used to amend term limits of officials like President Duterte and can even postpone the 2022 elections.