Filipinos vow to oppose Charter change

Government needs to address poverty and hunger than Charter change

Filipinos vow to oppose Charter change
A group protesting Charter change (File photo)
Julian Labores and staff, Manila, Philippines

January 14, 2011

Filipinos are vowing to protest against moves to amend the 1987 Constitution in the Philippines.

Migrante, an international organization of Filipino workers, said it will not allow pro-administration legislators or "old proponents and propagandists" to “muddle” the Charter.

“Any attempt to introduce amendments in the Philippine Constitution is futile, completely a waste of the government resources and time. Instead of spending much time in contemplating to have our Constitution changed, lawmakers should focus on the improvement of the lives of the Filipinos,” Migrante Middle East coordinator John Monterona said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site.

The group noted that during the former administration of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo there were attempts to change the 1987 Constitution but these were thwarted.

It said this was because the people were convinced the reasons for attempting to amend the Charter had nothing to do with progress but were for the "personal" interests of the administration and its allies.

President Benigno Aquino III himself is opposed to the idea of Charter change although some politicians and Catholic Church leaders agree.

Former chief Justice Reynato Puno said Congress must consider amending the 1987 Constitution to remove provisions that he said prevent the Philippines from developing.

Bishop Martin Jumoad of the southern Philippine diocese of Isabela said it is time that the Constitution is changed. He is pushing for a federal form of government, which he believes will be beneficial to the southern Philippine region.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel, meanwhile, is against Charter change, saying there are more urgent issues the government needs to address, such as poverty and hunger.

“Should it be our priority? It is good, especially if it has people’s participation like a Constitutional Commission. But the timing is bad, many people are still hungry. You change the Charter but will it feed them?” he said.

Related reports
Filipino bishops open to talks on Charter change
Philippine bishop pushes for charter change
Distrust sparks resistance to charter change