Land for the landless, Not Charter Change!
Genuine Sovereignty and Patrimony for Filipinos!
Mr. Chairperson and members of House Committee on Constitutional Amendments and to all my fellow legislators, Good afternoon to all of us.
First and foremost, the representative of Anakpawis partylist expresses gratitude to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments for giving way to tackle the House Resolution No. 13 that expresses our disapproval in the reenactment of Charter Change (ChaCha) under the Aquino administration.
Mr. Chairperson and to my fellow legislators, Anakpawis partylist has 3 major issues and basis why we assert our standing against the proposed ChaCha.
First, giving rights to the foreign corporations and companies to own lands in our country will not make any development. The proposed 100 % foreign ownership of land is clearly against the legitimate rights for land of our poor Filipino farmers that are supposed to be the proprietor and the tiller of their land. This is also a proof of surrendering our national patrimony and sovereignty to the foreign controls.
Mr. Chair, for all we know, the effective control of foreign agro-corporations in our agricultural lands have already emerged even this provision was not yet approved by the 1987 constitution. This foreign monopoly and control on our lands is the main reason of dislocation and landlessness of our filipino farmers.
In Mindanao, there are 300,000 hectares of agricultural land that the government lent to the foreign agro-corporations in a long period of time. It’s been over a decade since the multinational corporations take advantage on our agricultural lands that was supposed to be for the filipino farmers.
In the midst of crisis and landlessness, low wages and lacking of opportunity for the peasant sector, agricultural worker and workers, foreign corporations like Dole-Stanfilco, Sumifru, Filinvest, Del Monte, Goldland Dedoro Philippines, kenram and big Filipino businessmen like the Cojuangco and Alcantara family earned over a billion pesos every year.
Mr. Chair, in addition, according to GRAIN, an international NGO that monitors the lending and buying of lands of the foreign agro-corporation on poor countries, Philippines is one of the active country that flaunts its territory to lent the million hectare agricultural land to the foreign agro-corporations.
In a statistic according to GRAIN, Philippines is lending an approximately 5.2 million hectares of land to the foreign corporations for the production of palm oil, bio fuel, and export crops. This policy is the reason of land encroachments and dislocation in the sector of filipino farmers.
Mr. Chair, what else will our filipino farmers and filipino citizens can achieve? The 100 % foreign ownership of land is not yet approved by the 1987 constitution yet the foreign agro-corporations had already deprived the filipino farmers on their right to land and to have a peaceful and decent life.
However, thousands of Filipino workers on the export-oriented plantation in Mindanao were like the modern slaves of capital, aside from their low wages, many of them were dismissed from their work because majority of them are under the program of contractualization.
It’s better if the Congress would have an investigation regarding the condition of our poor farmers and workers in the plantation owned by these foreign agro-corporations so we can collectively get to know the rigorous and painful condition of our poor farmers and filipino workers under these foreign corporations. This will help not only in the issue of Charter Change, but also for the advancement of agrarian reform and the slavery condition of production in the archipelago.
Mr. Chair, the second reason why we condemn the reenactment of Charter Change is because of its desire to remove the hindrance from the 1987 constitution that prohibits the foreign military bases, troops and facilities in the country.
For the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to know, the US troops, military bases and facilities doesn’t really leave the country after the September 16, 1991 RP-US Bases Treaty.
Mr. Chair, from January 2013 until June, there are 72 US warships and submarines that anchored/sailed in the former Subic Naval Base in Olongapo City, and probably this can over pass the 88 US warships and submarines that visited the Philippines last 2012.
Eventhough the 1987 constitution strictly prohibits the entering and obtrusion of US troops and building military bases and using of facilities, Wahington D.C. show no consideration on violating our national sovereignty.
Mr. Chair, it is appropriate for the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to be worried not just on the proposal to change the constitution and to comply with the objective of the US to restore their military bases and troops in the Philippines.
Mr. Chair, maybe we are still unaware about the treaty between the US Government and the Philippines regarding the unlimited access of the US military in the facilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the country, it includes the former Subic Naval Base in Olongapo, Clark Air Field in Pampanga and the Sangley Point in Cavite City.
In the midst of the negotiation of the US military command and DND regarding the US military access, their ploy to build an advanced command post in Oyster Bay and other areas in Palawan were exposed to the public, and even the news that the US is using the Philippines as a “listening post” of Central Intelligence Agency to infiltrate and spy not only the leaders and countries that are critical on US, but also in the US allies like continental Europe and countries of East Asia and the Pacific.
Mr. Chair and fellow delegates, it seems like the US is preparing our country to become their unloading port for their war on aggression and obtrusion. On the other hand, the continuing presence of the military troops and bases of US in our country will serve as a magnet for the enemy and critical in the policy of US to attack the Philippines.
Mr. Chair, this premonition is beyond and worse than we experienced during World War II. We will serve as their collateral damage on the unending campaign of America to colonize and to rule the world.
Mr. Chair, instead of focusing on the issue of Charter Change, it is much better and more important if the House of Representatives will rather make an investigation and steps regarding the obtrusion and violation on our national sovereignty.
My third and last point regarding our strictly disapproval in ChaCha is the removal of term limit of Congressmen and Senators. Honorable Chair, the people have already decided regarding this law, and their decision and public opinion is to disagree. For the majority of the citizens, removing of term limit is only for the expansion of power and term of service is for narrow interest and a mere decision of a few.
Mr. Chair, we strongly suggest that instead building up the issue of Charter Change and amend the 1987 constitution, it is much better and the House of Representatives will be more productive if they will use all of its knowledge and excellence for the recovery of our fellow Filipinos that was devastated by the earthquake and super typhoon these past few months.
Mr. Chair, Anakpawis partylist have their proposed law that we think can answer the poverty and crisis that the Filipinos are experiencing. This is the House Bill No. 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill and the House Bill No. 253 for the P125 legislated across the board, across the nation wage hike.
Mr. Chairperson, instead of dancing in the rhythm of ChaCha, it’s more politically sound and morally correct if the House of Representatives will talk about the legislating and approving of the programs that will help for the recovery of our fellow Filipinos from the tragedy of 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda.
Mr. Chair, it’s right and worthy for majority’s interest if the Congress will make a step to help the victims of the previous calamity recover. This is the right path, and not the ChaCha that was junked in the history of the Philippines long ago.
Genuine Agrarian Reform, Not Charter Change!
Genuine sovereign and Patrimony for the People!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!
Again, thank you very much Mr. Chair and Good afternoon to all of us!
Rep. Fernando Hicap