Christian leaders buck Charter change

Christian leaders buck Charter change

Thousands of demonstrators rally along Commonwealth Avenue — the road leading to the House of Representatives in Quezon City — as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address, July 23, 2018. MARTINA SUMMER DAGAL

By CBCP News

August 16, 2018

Manila, Philippines

A group of Christian leaders is raising the alarm about what they say an aggressive push for charter change even if majority of Filipinos oppose the shift to federalism.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, including its 13 regional ecumenical councils, pointed to a number of reasons they said would create bigger problems for the country.

“We are deeply concerned that the proponents of the Charter change have a misconstrued understanding of development that will benefit only a selected few,” they said.

The faith leaders expressed concern that the proposed revision of the Constitution seeks to allow foreign businesses to own larger shares of various ventures that were safeguarded by the present Charter.

According to them, it can also expand and strengthen the power of political dynasties and “constrict the democratic space in our society further”.

“This move to shift the form of government will push our people further into the margins as more taxes will be imposed on the people to support new structures and officials,” they said.

Allowing the 1987 Charter to be changed, they emphasized, will only worsen the current predicament of Filipinos.

“While the 1987 Constitution is far from perfect, moves to change the Constitution that will undermine our national sovereignty, the Bill of Rights, and other checks and balances for a truly democratic society will surely be for the worse,” they added.

RECs are ecumenical fellowships of churches of different denominations in the provinces and regions.

The NCCP, meanwhile, is the country’s largest fellowship of mainline protestant churches.