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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Workers picket Congress, call for a stop to Cha-cha

In time for a committee meeting on the proposed changes in the 1987 Constitution, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket in front of the House of Representatives today to call for a stop to the Cha-cha, condemning the premise and process of the latter.


“We oppose the Cha-cha being pushed by the Aquino government. Its premise and process are both incorrect. We oppose it vehemently,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.


“The Cha-cha’s basic premise is that attracting more foreign investors will bring about the country’s development. We have been trying to do that for the longest time and we are not anywhere near being a developed country,” he added.


“Workers, for one, have not been benefitting from the government’s drive to attract foreign investors. This drive has meant pressing down our wages, promoting contractualization, imposing inhumane workloads and repressing our rights,” Soluta said.


Carrying placards that read “The Philippines is not for sale” and “Stop Cha-cha,” workers staged a play where Uncle Sam and Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III are dancing cha-cha over the country’s Constitution.


The HOR Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to meet today to deliberate on House Concurrent Resolution No. 10 which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution.


On the agenda are the following amendments: (1) removal of the 60%-40% equity limitations on foreign investors, (2) removal of the exclusive control and management by Filipinos in companies with foreign equities, (3) expansion of foreign investors’ role in exploring, developing and utilizing the country’s natural resources, (4) allowing foreign ownership of industrial lands, (5) allowing foreign investment in the media industry, (6) liberalizing the practice of profession, (7) allowing foreign investments in tertiary education, and (8) expansion of the 25 years plus 25 years land lease agreement.


“The process being proposed for amending the basic law of the land is the same as the process being followed in passing an ordinary law. This does not strike us as the right thing to do,” Soluta said.


“These are major amendments to the Constitution and will deeply affect the lives and livelihood of ordinary Filipinos. These should be subjected to public and government deliberations that are more rigorous than those being undergone by ordinary pieces of legislation,” he added. Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary General

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