Cha-cha would allow sale of public utilities, beaches to foreigners: ex-solon

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2018 09:09 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2018 09:35 AM

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MANILA - Charter change proposals in Congress are rigged with dangerous, self-serving, and anti-people provisions, which the proponents do not even dare to explain openly to the public, a former party-list lawmaker said Tuesday.

Speaking to ANC, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said 90 percent of politicians support charter change "because their terms will be extended and there will be a cancellation of elections."

Some of the proposed provisions would allow the selling of lands and public utilities to foreign entities, Colmenares said, which runs opposite to President Rodrigo Duterte's push for national industrialization during the 2016 campaign.

"Don't they also see a sovereignty and security problem here? What if some country who contests our West Philippine Sea claim buys lands or buys all the beaches in Palawan or in Mindoro? What if it buys public utility?" he said.

Another contentious provision in the charter change proposal, Colmenares said, is the inclusion of the "pork barrel" system in the new Constitution.

"[It] said the new Constitution should include a provision which states that each district should be entitled to a budget from the state and federal government for their infrastructure projects or medical assistance which is pork barrel," he explained.

"Each senator and party-list is entitled to the same amount as the district congressman. Because they lost the Supreme Court, they will now enshrine it in the Constitution," he said, referring to the ruling that followed the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.

The former lawmaker, who is part of the 'No to Cha-cha' movement, said the silence of lawmakers on these questionable provisions prove their self-serving motives and that they are not sincere in instituting real reforms.

There are currently three main charter change proposals: one proposed by Resolution of Both Houses no. 8, one proposed by the PDP-Laban, and one composed of subcommittee proposals at the House committee on constitutional amendments.

A consultative committee on charter change has been formed by Duterte, but lawmakers have said earlier that they will still have the final say on the matter as they push for a constitutional assembly in voting for a new Constitution.