No ‘Cha-Cha’ policies: DILG slams Gabriela over comment on gov’t pandemic response

Published April 16, 2021, 3:25 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday, April 16, called out women advocate group Gabriela for allegedly misleading the public and making false claims about the government’s solutions to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya criticized Gabriela for supposedly claiming that the three economic bills recently certified as urgent by President Duterte are “piecemeal Cha-Cha (Charter-Change)” policies.

“Gabriela’s unfounded allegations just show that they are insensitive to the plight of the Filipino people, many of whom lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” Malaya said.

“These three economic measures alongside economic constitutional reform are the keys to our long term economic recovery and will provide millions of jobs to our countrymen,” he added.

Malaya was referring to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act which were certified as urgent by Duterte in a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III on April 12.

The proposed laws, which were already passed at the House of Representatives, seek to “address the immediate and continuing need for legislative reforms to provide a more conducive investment climate, increase job opportunities, foster more competition, and further spur the country’s economic growth” amid the devastating effects of the pandemic in the economy.

“How is it Cha-Cha? These bills merely seek to amend existing laws and they are going through the proper legislative process. If this is Cha-Cha, what sections of the Constitution are sought to be amended?” Malaya asked Gabriela.

Malaya alleged that Gabriela’s opposition to the three economic bills was founded on their own “national industrialization program.”

Apparently tagging Gabriela as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Malaya claimed that the electric, water, mining, oil, telecommunications, and transportation industries, among others, are to be confiscated from their owners and taken over by the State under the so-called program.

He claimed this was dictated by the “obsolete” national democratic ideology of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

He said that as an alternative, Gabriela “would want us to abandon the free market economy and be protectionist in a globalized world.”

“If we will follow their proposal, we will be bringing back our country to the Dark Ages and we will be a pariah in the global economy. This will lead to more unemployment and suffering by our people,” Malaya said.

On the contrary, the DILG official lauded Duterte’s move to certify as urgent the three economic bills aimed at easing foreign investment restrictions in the country as they are complementary to the economic Constitutional Reform (CORE) efforts.

“These economic bills and the economic CORE are a potent combination for the country’s long-term pandemic recovery. These measures will open up the economy to achieve a truly inclusive investment-led economic growth which will create more jobs for the Filipino people,” Malaya said.

The President’s urgent certification of the bills means these can be passed on the third reading immediately after the second reading.