The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) denounces the Duterte government’s Charter change supposedly “to pave way to federalism.” It is a deceptive and dangerous draconian measure leading to a fascist dictatorship and the complete sell out of Philippine economy and patrimony to foreign corporations, which will only worsen the plight of the Filipino masses, especially the marginalized indigenous peoples.
The proposed Charter amendments as contained in the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH No. 8) and the PDP-Laban proposal will bestow formidable powers to President Duterte during a transition period, whereby the Congress will be dissolved and during which Duterte will exercise both executive and legislative powers. Worse, there is no guarantee up to when the transition period will last. It will also extend the terms of office of the President, Congressmen and Senators. Charter change attacks human rights, civil liberties and national sovereignty. The sovereign power of the people will be limited to elections. It will also curtail the freedom of expression, weaken human rights and peoples’ rights, and opens up the country to foreign military bases.
Charter change also aims to remove the “protectionist” economic provisions enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. The proposed amendments will allow 100% foreign ownership of lands including agricultural lands and allow 100% foreign owned corporations to exploit our natural resources, which are prohibited under the current Constitution. Strategic enterprises, including public utilities, mass media and educational institutions will also be allowed 100% foreign ownership and control.
Charter change completely disregards indigenous peoples’ rights to our ancestral lands and self determination. It enhances the plunder of our ancestral lands, boosts Duterte’s tyranny and heightens the national oppression of indigenous peoples, with impunity. It will allow even more mining, dams and other energy projects in the Cordillera towards the total destruction of our remaining forests, rivers and ecosystems, which the Igorots have nurtured and protected since time immemorial. The numerous mining applications covering more than 60% of the region’s land area and the more than 100 energy projects, mostly by foreign transnational corporations and their local subsidiaries, will lead to our ethnocide if unhindered. Already marginalized, access to education and other basic social services will become more difficult due to their rising costs caused by private ownership and control.