MANILA, Philippines – Two in three Filipinos or 67 percent are against Charter change (Cha-cha) moves at this time while a majority oppose a shift to federalism, a Pulse Asia survey results bared on Monday.
Asked if the Constitution should be amended at this time, 67 percent of 1,800 respondents said no, 18 percent said yes, while 14 percent were undecided.
The poll was conducted from June 15 to 21, or two weeks before the Consultative Committee (Con-com) submitted its draft federal charter to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
The survey said that of the 67 percent, 37 percent disapproved changing the Constitution now and in the future, while 30 percent opposed it at present but may be open for it in the future.
The polls also showed that 55 percent of Filipinos were aware of the proposal to amend the Charter while 74 percent admitted having “little” or “almost no knowledge” about the 1987 Constitution.
Sixty-two percent said of respondents said they were not in favor of federalism while 28 percent favor it and 10 percent were undecided, the survey said.
Of the 62 percent, 34 percent were opposing it now and in the future while 28 percent were against it at present but may be open to it in the future.
The pollster said the survey had a ± 2 percent error margin.
Following the survey, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate has warned those pushing for “self-serving Charter change that the message is very clear: “better stop it now, or, face the peoples’ wrath.”
“The bold writings are very clear on the wall: a majority of our people are opposed to Charter change and this is bound to grow as more of its provisions are exposed as anti-people and will only further the self-serving interests of the present elitist system,” Zarate said in a statement.
The progressive lawmaker said even this Con-com draft contains provisions that open the gates for “no election” and term extensions for politicians, as well as the further opening of our economy to foreign control and plunder.
“We will continue to expose the vested interests behind this Cha-cha. We call on the people to express their Cha-cha opposition by launching more concerted protest actions against it,” ended Zarate.
For his part, ACT-Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the survey showed that the opposition to both Cha-cha and federalism is growing even more because people “see right through” the “self-interested motives” of some.
“It shows that Pres. Duterte’s push to amend the Constitution and shift to a federal form of government is an initiative of politicians, by politicians, for politicians. The people see right through and reject their self-interested motives,” Tinio said.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said the poll results only proved that the move to amend the Charter is being forced-fed to Filipinos by the Duterte regime “to further consolidate his dictatorial rule with the federal shift as stepping stone.”
“Lalong nalalantad ang pakanang Cha-cha bilang isang self-serving na hakbang ng rehimen, lalo pa’t may pahayag ang liderato ng Kamara hinggil sa pagpapaliban ng eleksyon,” De Jesus said.
“Panawagan namin sa kababaihan at sa mamamayan na ipakita ang pagtutol sa Cha-cha sa pamamagitan ng paglahok sa malaking pagkilos sa ikatlong SONA (State of the Nation Address) ni Duterte,” she added.
The proposed Cha-cha being pushed by Duterte’s allies in Congress and by his Con-com could pave the way to a shift to a federal form government – one of his campaign promises and an advocacy of his political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Despite facing strong opposition, House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia earlier asserted that the lower chamber is not giving up on its push for federalism.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez even reiterated his stance that it would be practical to suspend the 2019 elections to facilitate the country’s possible shift to a federal form of government.
Alvarez, secretary-general of PDP-Laban and a staunch ally of Duterte, also said that f the Senate would not agree to the postponement of the 2019 polls, citizens supporting federalism could initiate a people’s initiative to amend the constitutional provision requiring elections every three years. (davaotoday.com)