OFW group twits Malacanang over ‘Aquino can’t stop Charter change’

AN overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) group in the Middle East today chided Malacanang who was quoted saying that ‘the President can’t stop Charter change moves’ even though the prime movers are the President’s close and top allies in Congress.

“She (referring to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte) should better ‘tell it to the Marines’ as the saying goes. Nobody would believe what she said that Pres. Aquino can’t stop Charter change moves, the fact that Charter change prime movers are the president’s close allies.

In realpolitik, the president has a relative high degree of influence with both chamber’s leaders, Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., or the entire ruling parties in Congress,” said Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.

In practice, though Valte is explaining it on a theoretical point of view, Monterona added that, in fact, it is the President’s desire to control, if not exert undue influence, to the members of the Congress in both Houses so that the President’s legislative agenda will be passed into laws and thereby effect or execute the policies it deemed necessary to effectively and efficiently govern.

‘With Valte’s remarks, one could think that President Aquino may play decoy at this stage while ‘testing the water’ or what will be the reaction of the public in regards to Charter change issue because in many previous times Charter change moves were not successful due to strong public opposition even during the time of PNoy’s mother, President Cory Aquino,” Monterona added.

The OFW leader added that the Aquino government must be clear and firm on his position about any Charter change moves as the real motive is not out of a genuine desire to effectively and efficiently govern and effect real changes, but rather due to external or outside imposition which the Aquino government had committed itself in the international trade community led by the United States.

Monterona is referring to the desire of the Aquino govt. to join the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreements that adhere and pushing hard the neo-liberal trade policies to allow the US and other imperialist countries to totally penetrate into the Philippine economy with limited, if not no restrictions at all, thus the need to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

“Removing the so called ‘restrictive’ economic provisions such as the ban on total foreign ownership on lands, and other sectors of the economy, is an imposed requisite by the US Trade department for the Philippines to be part of the TPP agreements,” Monterona explained.

Monterona said the worry is that the Philippine economy once became part of the TPP agreements with the restrictive economic provisions on the Constitution removed, then it will institutional and legalize economic exploitation by imperialist countries like the US that is getting bolder on pursuing its own economic and political interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This will cause further economic woes and displacement of the majority of the poor Filipinos who are now forced to work abroad even though there is no protection amid rampant human rights violations and abuses,” he averred.

Monterona noted that the ‘term extension’ fears associated to Charter change moves is only secondary, as an incidental off-shot of the desire of the Aquino govt. to join the TPP.

“But knowing the mentality of the many members of the Congress, they might grab the opportunity to include this once the Charter is opened for amendments,” he averred.

“We, OFWs and dependents, strongly urge President Aquino III to not to play decoy on the issue of Charter change. He must be clear and firm on his position versus any Charter change moves,” Monterona said.

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