Charter change undermines the spirit of EDSA 1

February 24, 2024

by IBON Foundation

The Left was the most important force in overthrowing the Marcos dictatorship, which is why Leftist ideas about human rights, social justice, and progressive economics were so prominent in the founding of the Fifth Philippine Republic after EDSA 1.

The 1987 Constitution has provisions on agrarian reform, industrialization and sovereign control of the economy. Filipinos would have it so much better now if these were made real instead of overruled by decades of dogmatic globalization.

Economic charter change advocates need to understand the damage the obsolete neoliberalism they’re still pushing has done. Liberalization has driven manufacturing to its smallest share of the economy in 75 years and agriculture to its smallest in history. Poverty and joblessness is chronic and thinly disguised by tweaks in statistical methodologies. They should also see that even advanced economies are today reverting to the kind of protection, self-reliance and independence so wisely enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

The charter’s wisdom of a developmental state is more relevant than ever. The narrow self-interest of the Marcos Jr administration to cling to power will not only entrench corrupt dynastic politics, but also oligarchic and foreign domination of the national economy.

Every charter can always be improved but it is vital to defend the nationalist, democratic and activist spirit of EDSA 1 in the 1987 Constitution. Cha-cha driven by elite self-interest will make the people even worse off than they already are.

Filipinos have every reason to oppose Cha-cha.