Church, social groups stage rally against Charter change

Thousands join Caritas Philippines' people's march and prayer

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), organized a protest rally on the Senate grounds to oppose proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

( Philippines President Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo during the rally on May 22)

Caritas, along with SIKLAB, the No to ChaCha Coalition, religious congregations, and Diocesan Social Action Centers on May 22, stressed that a strong Constitution is in “upholding democracy” and “promoting good governance."

"We stand united with social movements and churches in defending our democracy," said Caritas Philippines President Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo in a statement on Thursday, May 23.

"This march wasn't just a protest; it was a prayerful plea for our leaders to prioritize the people's needs,” he added.

The coalition specifically urged newly-elected Senate President Francis Escudero to take a stand against Charter change.

They called on the Senate to focus on critical matters such as securing a living wage, upholding human rights, and passing environmental protection bills.

Bagaforo underscored that the group believes in the power of collective action and faith to bring about positive change in the country.

"The overwhelming turnout at the march signifies the unwavering commitment of Filipinos to ensuring their voices are heard and respected," the bishop added.

Caritas has long advocated to focus on strengthening the foundation of society's basic services, anti-corruption, and programs for the marginalized rather than pursuing charter change.

The bishop also stressed that instead of seeking solutions in constitutional revisions, the government should tackle the country's real challenge, which is corruption.