Editorial: Cha-Cha is not about Federalism or Regional Autonomy

www.nordis.net

Chacha, suggests lively dance music and fun but on the news jargon or in Philippine politics it means Charter change (Cha-cha) which is again raised by the current regime, as it was by almost every regime before it, and its House of Representatives (HOR) like it is a new and the best proposal to lift the widespread poverty in the Philippines. It is even being passed as the ‘same’ proposal for the change to a federal form of government or the quickest way to achieve regional autonomy.

However, the Makabayan block in the HOR and the groups in the nationalist movement retort (as articulated by former congressman Neri Colmenares) and warn the people:

“Advocates of federalism go around the country trying to convince people on the merits of federalism but without mentioning that under this Cha-cha, terms of congressmen are lengthened from 3 years to 5 years, Pres. Duterte is granted legislative powers, top government officials are exempted from income tax and other self serving provisions.”

“In the end this Cha-cha is not really about Federalism but the exacerbation of the system of repression and exploitation of the Filipino people. This Cha-cha and its Con Ass (constitutional assembly) must be opposed even by those who support Federalism. Federalism is just a cover to institutionalize anti-people provisions in the Constitution. We ask even those who support federalism to oppose Cha-Cha and Con Ass because, instead of solving, it will only worsen the country’s problems.”

In the Cordillera Region, organized sectors of the national minorities and indigenous peoples fought hard and long for the recognition and respect of their indigenous rights to their ancestral domains, their life and culture as peoples, their common resources, their right to self-determination. Their collective effort has imbedded the recognition and respect of indigenous peoples (IPs/ICCs) rights in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. Though the provision has been so watered down and even threatened to be removed by rightist politicians and big capital in all three branches of government, national minorities and indigenous peoples continue to empower and defend their rights.

In the light of this continued imposition and renewed campaign, chacha and con ass – the Igorots and Lumads and IP rights advocates can, along with their usual day-to-day tasks, tighten ranks and keep in check their sturdiest kalasag. Human rights violations and aggressive intrusions of foreign investments into their ancestral territories does not allow them to lower their guard. So why should they or better yet, why should we entertain a chacha or a con ass that is meant only to entrench an administration that has so far succeeded to impose martial law? Perpetuates extra judicial killings in its campaign against illegal drugs? And, a crack down on human rights defenders including working journalists? # nordis.net

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