House leader says Cha-cha may create division among lawmakers

January 29, 2014 11:59 pm 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Jan. 29 (PNA) — Tackling Charter Change (Cha-cha) may create division among lawmakers at the House of Representatives, said House Minority Leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.

Zamora claimed that once the Charter Change had positioned, gate of amendments is always possible and cannot be controlled.

"I don’t think you want to postpone the real debates for some future time. If you are going to do it above the large Constitutional issues, then debate them now. Don't wait for some future time. That's one. Second, I don't think you can so easily work out something viable and practicable about Muslim Mindanao without taking a look at many provisions in the Constitution," Zamora told reporters at the weekly forum of the House Minority bloc.

“I am uncertain that you are going to be able to deal with national territory, territorial waters, natural resources, the rights of non-Muslim communities in Mindanao, without taking a look at the Constitution," he said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier admitted that once they gain the upper hand in amending the 1987 Constitution, they may have no control once they open the floodgate of amendments.

He, however, said he will lead his colleagues to block all political amendments and just concentrate on economic provisions that will uplift the economy and change the lives of the Filipino people.

According to Zamora, it is difficult to "just limit it on just the economic provisions especially the way the Speaker formulates it which is just to say unless otherwise provided by law or some general and catch all phrase like that."

To date, Concurrent Resolution 1 is sleeping at the House committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano.

Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap, for his part, said Cha-cha attempts will only bring further instability to the domestic economy and poverty to majority of Filipinos.

He said Cha-cha is a lobby work of foreign chambers of commerce and investors to further liberalize and open the local economy for the benefit and interest of foreign businesses and investments.

"Cha-cha advocates say that amending the Constitution will break the stranglehold of the one-percent of Filipinos who control most of the country's wealth. But Cha-cha will never bring genuine national development and social equality. Cha-cha will only worsen the plunder of our natural and human resources. Only the local and foreign big businesses will benefit from Charter Change," said Hicap during the same forum.

Belmonte’s proposal is to amend Article 12 (National Economy and Patrimony) to ease foreign investments in mineral resources, land ownership and franchises and Article 14 (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) to allow foreign ownership of mass media, education and advertising.

"Cha-cha will sellout whatever is left of our local economy to foreigners," said Hicap.

"Allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of lands will cause massive land-grabbing and worsen landlessness of Filipino farmers," he concluded. (PNA)



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