BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Members of the women’s groups GABRIELA and Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) this morning staged a picket at the House of Representatives to protest moves to amend the Constitution.
The House Committee on Coonstitutional Amendments is holding a hearing today to tackle moves to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly.
Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, presidential son, and House Speaker Prospero Nograles have been leading moves at the House of Representatives to amend the 1987 Constitution. It is widely suspected that these moves aim to extend President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term beyond 2010, although both the younger Arroyo and Nograles have denied this, saying the real intent of Charter change moves is to ease restrictions on the entry of foreign investors.
“We call on the Congressional Committee on Constitutional Amendments to nip in the bud this evil known as constitutional change,” GABRIELA secretary-general Emmi de Jesus said in a statement distributed during the picket. The last thing Filipinos need at this time is the term extension of a lying, cheating and plundering President who is totally useless in the face of a global financial crisis.”
“We oppose Charter change because it is not needed,” said GWP Rep. Luz Ilagan in an interview. What Arroyo should focus on is the delivery of services, because that is what is needed.We need housing, we need health services, we need social services that should be given to women — especially at present, when we are in the grip of a crisis and there are no jobs. Why are they spending time on amending the Constitution?”
Ilagan also said that easing restrictions on the entry of foreign investors would further open the floodgates for the plunder of the country’s economy and patrimony.
She also said women would be the first to suffer the consequences of constitutional amendments under the Arroyo regime.
“They are the ones usually in chanrge of availing of social services, and they feel poverty very sharply,” she said.They are the ones who buy the basic goods like LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). They are the ones who have to think of how to send their children through school.”
De Jesus, meanwhile, said that it is mostly women who will suffer from the effects of the ongoing retrenchments, which have resulted from the global financial crisis. This, she said, is because women comprise the majority of the workforce in the electronics industry and in factories in export processing zones, which were among the first to be hit by the global recession.
Both groups demanded “social change” which their leaders said should start with the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (Bulatlat.com)