The Marcos regime is trying to revise the Philippine constitution. Here’s what you need to know. • BAYAN-USA

March 4, 2023

What’s happening?

After several months of discussion, the House of Representatives will be doing its third and final reading of “Resolution of Both Houses No. 6.” This would push forward a bill to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution, also known as “charter change” or “cha-cha” for short.  The 1987 Constitution was ratified to put up safeguards for the Filipino nation after Dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was ousted from power after more than a decade of brutal military rule, or martial law.

Marcos’ cha-cha is being rushed through the House in the midst of an economic crisis. 

How do you change the Constitution?

There are multiple ways the constitution can be amended, but the one being pushed forward now is via “Constitutional Convention (con-con for short). The con-con would be made up of delegates elected from each legislative district, as well as delegates appointed by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The convention would propose amendments to the constitution that would then be put to a vote by the entire voting population in what’s called a “plebiscite.”

That sounds like a democratic process — what’s wrong with it?

As the May 2022 election showed, Philippine elections are dominated by political dynasties that can manipulate the playing field with money, force, and disinformation. There is no reason to think the election of delegates will be any different.

We can also expect the appointed delegates to be Marcos’ allies. In fact, the Speaker of the House — one of those responsible for appointing delegates — is none other than Martin Romualdez, Marcos Jr.’s cousin.

What’s at stake?

Everything. Once the con-con convenes, the entire constitution is open to amendment. This includes term limits for the president, vice president, and all elected officials. Those in office now would benefit the most.

One of the most worrying amendments proponents of cha-cha want to push is removal of restrictions on foreign ownership of Philippine industries and land. This could potentially allow for 100% foreign ownership, a direct attack on Philippine sovereignty. 

Why “Marcos Cha-Cha”? Didn’t he say cha-cha isn’t a priority for him?

We shouldn’t take Marcos Jr.’s words at face value. From the actions of Marcos’ allies in the House to rush the bill, we can clearly see it’s a priority measure. His statement that cha-cha is not a priority is just posturing. Let’s call this for what it is: an effort by the Marcos regime to upend the Constitution put in place to safeguard the Filipino people from the grave mistakes of his father.

Is cha-cha the answer to the country’s problems?

No. Proponents of cha-cha claim that easing restrictions on foreign capital will help develop the economy. But as history has shown in countless industries, like mining and agriculture, the entry of more foreign companies will only worsen the crisis, especially for workers and peasant farmers. Only foreigners and the ruling minority will benefit from Cha-cha.

To make matters worse, the House estimates that a con-con would cost the Filipino people P9.5 billion ($172 million). This is a slap in the face to the people, who are experiencing the highest inflation rates in over a decade. 

What can we do?

Let’s make our voices heard and let the Philippine government know that Filipinos in the US oppose Marcos’ Cha-cha.

1) Share this post to spread awareness!
2) Create your own prop: Take a selfie with the sign “No to Marcos Cha-Cha!”
3) Connect with a BAYAN USA organization near you to organize an action!

No to Marcos Charter Change & Dictatorship!
Stop Selling Out the Philippines!
Economic Relief Not Charter Change!

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