CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Legislators under Bayan Muna has expressed their opposition to the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha) anew, saying it is the most dangerous because it will open up the country further to foreign countries like China.

“Cha-cha has a new component—deleting constitutional provisions that will protect the Philippines from China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea as well as providing China red carpet entry into the Philippines,” said a joint statement issued by Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and his partymate Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate over the weekend.

Colmenares and Zarate warned the Filipinos to be wary of the Cha-cha revival as they urged the public to “prepare for a full battle against a pro-China and pro-dynasty Cha-cha in the waning years of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency”.

He said that even with the high popularity of Pres. Duterte, nine out of 10 Filipinos believe that we should assert our sovereignty and Cha-cha is a way of surrendering it. He added that Filipinos draw the line when it comes to fighting against foreign oppressors like China and the US.

The move to amend Constitution has been revived with Rep. Rufus Rodriquez, head of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, holding public consultations across the country. His committee’s first stop is this city Friday.

Deleted requirements

The latest version of Cha-Cha, according to Bayan Muna, will delete the requirement under Section 7 Article XIII of the Constitution that requires the government to protect the Philippine “marine resources and subsistence fishermen from foreign intrusion.”

Colmenares said there will no longer be a constitutional barrier to [Duterte] undertaking a joint exploration with the Chinese government or 100% Chinese owned corporations as the requirement under Section 2 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution will also be deleted.

The said requirement states the ‘exploration, development and utilization of natural resources’ can only be undertaken by the State through joint ventures ‘with Filipino citizens or corporations at least 60% of whose capital is owned by Filipinos’.

A call on fellow legislators

Colmenares and Zarate called on their fellow members at the Lower House, “not to give the country to foreigners.”

If the Constitution is amended, Bayan Muna said, it will only condemn the future’s sons and daughters to the control of China.

“We cannot sacrifice the future of the next generation of Filipinos in exchange for our loyalties to a temporary President,” Colmenares said.

Zarate, on his part, criticized the proposed Cha-cha “on the promise of electoral reforms, zeroing in on political dynasty and extension of term of elected public officials.”

“Considering that Pres. Duterte’s family controls many government positions, it is a foregone conclusion that [he] will support the deletion of political dynasty in the Constitution,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez said he is optimistic that the lawmakers in the Lower House will approve the proposed amendments as early as the first half of 2020.

“We will definitely approve the amendments with the term of Pres. Duterte. [We] still have two and a half years. We have sufficient time,” he said in a text message Saturday.

Based on his timetable, by December this year, the proposed amendments will be approved at the committee level, by January next year it will be approved by the Lower House plenary, and by April it will be transmitted to the Senate. (

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