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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 14, 2018
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Cha-cha transparency sought,
manifesto set for Malacaņang
BY SHIELA G. GELERA

 

A manifesto calling on members of Congress to reconsider their move to introduce amendments to the 1987 Constitution through a Constituent Assembly is set to be sent to Malacañang, Congress, and to different sectors of society, this week, former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela said yesterday.

The Paghimud-os Negros (Citizens' Movement for Democracy and People Power) final manifesto hopefully will be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the week, Coscolluela, co-convenor of the coalition of 22 groups, said at a press conference at the Bishop’s House lobby in Bacolod City, yesterday.

They are calling for a transparent and democratic manner in discussing the call for charter change and federalism.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, for one, has long maintained that any such Charter Change must be done by a Constitutional Convention, composed of citizens elected by the people on the basis of their credentials and competence, and who are devoid of partisan or self-serving interests to protect, the initial draft of the manifesto said..

The manifesto also calls for vigilance to ensure that the provisions of the 1987 Constitution on, among others, the bill of rights, the sanctity of family, the call for social justice, and the need to protect our sovereignty as an independent nation, are all preserved and not diminished by any changes in the 1987 Constitution.

The process of Charter Change should be accorded adequate time to ensure that the Filipino people are provided enough time to understand their implications and are able to vote on it in an informed and intelligent manner, it said.

The manifesto also calls that the proposals for Constitutional amendments and a shift to a federal form of government be likewise brought before the people in a fully transparent and participative manner.

“We thus challenge our Congressmen to conduct more comprehensive consultations with their constituents (civil society) on the issue of Charter Change and federalism,” it said.

The manifesto for vigilant and responsible citizenship and stressed that true power is in the hands of the people.

“It is very important that we bring these issues to the public and allow them to participate and discuss all of the issues,”Coscolluela said.

Michael dela Concepcion, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros, said that it is a validation at this trying times that the people areuniting on certain issues.

Fr. Cris Gonzales, director of the Social Action Center, meanwhile said that based on history, the church is the one leading the actions, but now it is being led by the citizens, which is a positive development.

“People in Bacolod and Negros are awake, responding to the issues being thrown at us,” Gonzales said.

The final manifesto signed by all the members will be released to the church, media, and to other institutions, particularly the academe, civic clubs, people’s organizations, non-government organizations, and all the other sectors, he said.

AGAINST CHA-CHA

“Personally, I am against cha-cha.I don’t think cha-cha is necessary at this time,” Coscolluela said.

He said there is much work to be done, there are many questions left unanswered, and therefore it is wrong for Congress to insist on fast tracking cha-cha.

“In fact, our problem now is people are beginning to say how we can even decide on the issue of charter change and federalism when there are so many questions that are left unanswered?,” Coscolluela said.

FORA

A forum to discuss cha-cha and con-ass, its process, the issues and concerns is set at the St. John Vianney Hall at Bishop’s House, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, with Alex Lacson as speaker.

At the same time Friday, there will be another forum with Neri Colmenares as the resource speaker. His talk “Cha-cha for better or for worse?”is specifically about the dangers exhibited in the proposal submitted by Congress itself as amendments to the constitution.

The publicis invited to the two for a aimed to inform them about the issues.*SGG

 

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