“This Cha-cha is not for the benefit of the Filipino people but for the self-serving benefit of politicians. This Cha-cha is pro-China and pro-political dynasty,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
Michael Varcas
Cha-cha to benefit China, politicians — Bayan Muna
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s Charter change (Cha-cha) push will result in a Constitution that would benefit China and politicians, leftist group Bayan Muna said yesterday.

“This Cha-cha is not for the benefit of the Filipino people but for the self-serving benefit of politicians. This Cha-cha is pro-China and pro-political dynasty,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.

He said presumptive speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s chief implementer of Cha-cha, has admitted that politicians would enjoy a longer term of office and term limits would be scrapped.

Zarate added that administration allies also intend to delete provisions in the present Constitution that shield Filipino businessmen from unfair practices of their foreign counterparts and protect the country’s natural resources from foreign exploitation.

As examples, Zarate cited two provisions he claimed would be dropped from the envisioned new Charter – those which mandate the state to “develop a self reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos” and to “protect Filipino enterprises from unfair foreign competition and trade practices.”?

“This Cha-cha will not only open up the Philippines and its economy, including retail business, to Chinese investors and workers. Under this Cha-cha, the Philippine economy could be controlled not by Filipinos but by China,” he said.

Zarate said Chinese businessmen have been “gobbling up hardware stores, groceries and other retail businesses run by small- and medium-scale Filipino entrepreneurs.”

“They will also scrap the anti-political dynasty provision, in addition to term limits, to benefit themselves,” he said.

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares, a former congressman, said administration allies plan to delete other Charter provisions that protect Filipino businesses and the country’s territory and resources from foreign aggression.

He said the deletions were contained in the version of a new constitution the House of Representatives under the leadership of former speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo proposed to the Senate in the last Congress.

Colmenares said one provision that was dropped limits the “exploration, development and utilization of natural resources” to projects undertaken by the government, by Filipino citizens or by corporations “at least 60 percent of whose capital is owned by Filipinos.”   

“The deletion means that there will no longer be a constitutional barrier to President Duterte undertaking joint exploration with the Chinese government or 100 percent Chinese-owned corporations,” Colmenares stressed.

He pointed out that another section that was scrapped requires the President to “notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision.”  

“This opens up the country to verbal agreements with China allowing China’s fishing in the West Philippine Sea. Worse, this Cha-cha will also delete the requirement under Section 7 Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution for the government to protect Philippine marine resources and subsistence fishermen from foreign intrusion,” he said.

Clearly, the renewed push to revise the Constitution is intended to benefit China, Colmenares added.

BAYAN MUNA CHARTER CHANGE RODRIGO DUTERTE
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