Bacolod City – In a united effort to safeguard the country’s constitution and protect its economic policies, a coalition of church leaders, legal professionals, youth advocates, and other sectoral groups was formed in Bacolod recently, a press release from Bayan Negros said.
The convenors of the coalition include San Carlos Diocese Bishop Rev. Gerardo Alminaza, IFI Bishop Virgilio Amihan Jr., and former Negros Occidental governor Lito Coscolluela.
The initiative materialized during a forum on charter change, where Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares led a comprehensive discussion on what Charter Change could entail, as it is being railroaded through the so-called “People’s Initiative.”
Colmenares emphasized concerns that Charter Change under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could potentially serve as a tactic to extend his term and may lead to a reduction of protectionist economic policies, potentially exposing the country’s resources to foreign incursion.
“Corruption doesn’t originate from the constitution. Amending it is not the solution,” stated Colmenares, underlining the importance of resisting indifference in the face of potential threats.
Echoing that sentiment, former Governor Coscolluela said “We should act now,” and advocated for a widespread education campaign to raise awareness about the risks associated with charter change.
Human Rights lawyer Rey Gorgonio warned against what he said would be a “total sellout” of the economy and patrimony, emphasizing the need to preserve the gains made under the 1987 constitution.
Bayan Negros chairperson Jimmy Loplop also pointed out Charter Change has been an extension of neoliberal policies that have been imposed by previous presidents, which aim to sell off the control of public utilities into the hands of big corporations and foreign investors.
The assembly collectively moved to establish a coalition to actively oppose any attempts at charter change, either through Constitutional Assembly, Con Convention, or People’s Initiative.
The coalition’s founding convenors include former Congressman Pete Pico; Fr. Armando Onion; Bishop Fely Tenchavez (UCCP); Right Rev Alan Caparo (IFIand); Fr. Anecito Buenafe; Leslie Garcia; Atty. Rey Gorgonio; Atty. Bong Dilag; Fr. Melvin Fajardo, IFI; Fr. Ben Duran, IFI;
Florenze Guzon (Kabataan Partylist); Jimmy Loplop, BAYAN-Negros; Rev. Pastor Frank Obligar (UCCP); Sr. Ezekiel Fernandez, OSB; Sr. Sandra Telogio, CM; Sr. Cecille Bayona, AMP. (BN PR via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)