Workers say no to Aquino’s Charter Change

Jul. 18, 2012

Press Release
12 July 2012

Workers say no to Aquino’s Charter Change

“Stop the drama!  Stop selling the Philippines!”

This was the reaction of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s call for amending the 1987 Constitution, saying the Aquino government is trying to make it appear that there is popular clamor for the move.

The leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives want to remove restrictions on foreign ownership of land, utilities, media and other services in the country, while President Noynoy Aquino has so far made lukewarm public responses to proposals to amend the Constitution.

“The Aquino government’s script is predictable.  Enrile and Belmonte want to make it appear that there’s a popular clamor for changing the Constitution so that President Aquino can openly lead the crusade to sell the country to big foreign capitalists,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“Cha-cha (Charter Change) and Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership program have the same thrust: that of opening up and selling the country to big foreign capitalists.  We have every reason to believe that President Aquino himself is leading this Cha-cha campaign,” he added.

The labor center said the motives for changing the country’s Charter goes against the interest of workers and the Filipino people.

“Since time immemorial, all governments have made attracting foreign investors into the country their main economic program.  This program has not brought about decent work and genuine economic development for workers and the majority of our people,” Soluta said.

“What it has brought about is the severe exploitation of our workers and natural resources.  We oppose Cha-cha because it will serve big foreign and Filipino capitalists, not the Filipino people,” he added.

KMU called on workers and the public not to be swayed by assurances that President Aquino will not seek to extend his term by changing the Constitution.

“Unpopular presidents have tried to extend their terms by campaigning for Cha-cha.  It is not far-fetched for Aquino, obviously drunk with the perception that he is highly-popular, to try to prolong his rule,” Soluta said.

“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to vigorously oppose the Aquino government’s Cha-cha scheme.  It will only make the 1987 Constitution and our plight even worse,” he added.

Roger Soluta
KMU secretary-general

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