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Bayan Laguna – Chacha will not cure country’s chronic crisis

Progressive alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Laguna slammed renewed attempts by groups and personalities to change certain economic provisions to the 1987 Constitution, claiming that it does not solve the “chronic crises” felt by the Filipino people.

“The people pushing for charter change are being disingenuous,” said Bayan Laguna coordinator Karl Arante. “They conveniently forget to state the fact that only foreign monopolies and big business wins with foreign direct investments.”

Data from research think-tank IBON Foundation has shown that since the 1970’s, the Philippines has had a steady increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) that continues to this day. Most investment is in manufacturing, where there are no constitutional restrictions on investment.

“The Philippines is actually very foreign-investor friendly as it is,” said Arante. “There is nothing that shows that it’s hard to invest in here.”

Arante pointed out that FDI’s do not translate to gains for the Philippine economy. “Profits from trans-national corporations do not get taxed and go straight to the company’s pockets,” said Arante. “The Philippine government even encourages this through incentives like tax holidays.”

Bayan Laguna emphasized that the ongoing economic crisis is due in large part to a “decades-long push for foreign investment, while killing local industry and trampling on workers’ rights.”

“Everything becomes secondary when you focus only on attracting foreign investment,” said Arante. “Wages are kept low, services become privatized, farmland is converted to make way for industrial and commercial projects, imports become necessary, and so on. The end result is the massive crisis we are experiencing right now.”

Arante said that recent reports of local officials pushing for “Chacha petitions” in exchange for DSWD and DOLE TUPAD relief are proof of how “corruption and the goals of Chacha go hand-in-hand.”

“They are using taxpayer money to push for an agenda that serves business interest,” said Arante. “That’s the very definition of bureaucrat capitalism.”

Instead of pushing for more foreign investment, Bayan Laguna emphasized that the Philippine government must create a “comprehensive solution to the basic problems of landlessness and inequality” faced by millions of Filipinos in the country. “Despite its faults, the 1987 Constitution didn’t ‘fail’ us,” said Arante. “The Filipino people are failed by corrupt governance subservient to foreign interest. Binigo tayo ng mga palpak at pahirap na pamamahala na hindi nagsisilbi sa interes natin bilang mamamayan.”

The alliance stated that a policy prioritizing genuine land reform and national industrialization must be pursued to address systemic problems in society. “The Marcos Jr. administration should also focus on providing social services, raising wages, and protecting local industries,” said Arante. “We need system change, not charter change.”

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