On the proposal for a Charter Change

Whichever angle you look at it from, the proposed Charter Change (ChaCha) will not benefit the ordinary Filipino worker. It is merely a dance of knives for landlords, big businessmen and politicians who aim to line their pockets with the people’s taxes and seek to quench their thirst for greater power.

Many will dismiss this proposal to be just a mere procedure to effect minor changes. However, in the current context, the real agenda of ChaCha is for ruling politicians to stay in power beyond the constitutional limits and open up the Philippines’ natural resources, labor force, public utilities and whatnot to foreign investors and corporations.

The corporate and foreign takeover of public utilities like mass transport, electricity, water is bound to propel successive price surges turning public goods into commodities. In the beginning of the year, workers and the people bore the brunt of price hikes in water, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), crude oil and gasoline, and electricity rates. Increased contributions in the PhilHealth and Pag-ibig loom while transportation fares in the MRT-LRT are set to increase. 

All of this while workers wages remain insufficient for a decent living condition. The rising prices of goods spur a food crisis and puts a heavier burden on the backs of workers. The government continues to phase out jeepneys, the most affordable transport mode for workers,  through the PUV Modernization program that favors minibuses sold by big foreign car manufacturers.

If this ChaCha pushes through, the impact will be felt most palpably by ordinary workers and people. One thing is clear: ChaCha is a dance for foreigners and a few. The people will gain nothing from it. 

Workers, peasants, and the entire nation will truly benefit if genuine land reform and national industrialization are implemented to promote an economy that is truly ours and works for us.

Elmer C. Labog