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Belmonte charter designed to serve foreign interest

/ 10:05 PM July 24, 2013

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.’s proposed Charter changes (“Speaker files Cha-cha ‘reso’,” Second Front Page, Inquirer, 7/10/13) are much like forcing the eviction of urban poor settlers to pave the way for the construction of a business district, as Quezon City recently did in preparation for the development of the so-called Quezon City Business District—they are favorable only to rich investors like the Ayalas.

Belmonte wants to erase “national patrimony” and “sovereignty” from the Constitution just to appease and attract transnational investments. If the demolition of the urban poor community in Quezon City was a symbolic statement affirming “Quezon City para sa mayayaman,” then the proposed constitutional amendments Belmonte now seeks proclaim “Pilipinas para sa dayuhan.”

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Belmonte’s Charter will turn 90 percent of us Filipinos into squatters in our own homeland. The removal of economic provisions protecting the national economy will lead into the blatant, unabashed “recolonization” of the country by foreign powers. It will translate into the plunder and exploitation of our country’s resources—and not only our natural resources but also our hardworking labor force.

The Buklurang Manggagawang Pilipino believes that Belmonte’s kind of Charter change, which serves the caprices of foreign capital, will demolish the constitutional rights of labor. The workers’ right to live decently will be subordinated to property rights.

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Despite its flaws, under the present Constitution, it is the obligation of the State to grant “full protection to labor.” Labor is likewise recognized as the “primary social economic force.” It enjoys primacy over nonhuman inputs in the production process; hence, the enactment of labor rights and standards.

But for Belmonte’s foreign masters—the monopoly corporations now seeking higher profits in developing countries after the 2008 global financial crisis—the idea of protecting workers and their rights is outdated and obsolete. Simply because the idea hikes the price of labor, and Belmonte’s bosses regard workers not as human beings but as a mere “cost” in their book of accounts—a simple commodity that they must buy at lower prices.

Let it be: people before profit!

—LEODY DE GUZMAN,

national president, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino,

76 K-7th St., Barangay East Kamias, Quezon City

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TAGS: charter change, letters to the editor, opinion, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
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