National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) voiced its opposition to the ongoing attempt to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The Protestant Council, citing concerns about the potential consequences on the economy and the deceptive tactics employed, urged the public to refrain from supporting the current push for Charter change.
“Done at a time of worsening poverty, rising prices, and challenges in the agricultural sector, we fear that this may be the most dangerous charter change ever,” the Council said in a statement.
NCCP accused President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his legislative allies of prioritizing the interests of big foreign and local businesses and the political elite over the welfare of the majority.
“We already have decades of experience to prove that trade liberalization and loose measures for foreign-dominated enterprises have only worsened the impoverishment of the Filipinos,” it said.
NCCP said the country has already seen the impacts of “destructive foreign-owned mining companies in rural areas and with the rice liberalization that plague our local farmers”.
The Council expressed concern that the proposal is presented as a comprehensive solution to the economic challenges faced by the nation.
It also lamented the reports that local government officials allegedly coercing residents into supporting the People’s Initiative in exchange for monetary incentives or aid.
The council denounces such deceptive tactics as a betrayal of the People’s Initiative process, a mechanism embedded in the very constitution being targeted for change.
“Such attempts to amend the Constitution through disinformation and manipulation is a travesty to the spirit of the People’s Initiative process enshrined in the very own Constitution they want to change,” said NCCP.
The Council emphasized that the current push for Charter change is not the appropriate solution for just and sustainable change.
“As churches, we will transform our prayers into acts that will frustrate any attempt, Charter Change included, that will jeopardize the freedom, sovereignty, and welfare of the Filipino people,” the Council expressed.