Gov’t told: Pay hike, not ‘Cha-cha’

Gov’t told: Pay hike, not ‘Cha-cha’

THE MARCOS administration must focus on increasing wages rather than introducing changes to the 1987 Constitution if it truly wishes to help people to escape poverty, a former lawmaker said on Thursday.

“Amidst escalating prices and the diminishing real value of our salaries, the solution is clear: we need a change and an increase in our wages, not a change in Constitution,” Emerenciana de Jesus, chairperson of Gabriela Party-list, said in a statement.

“If the government is really keen on uplifting the lives of the Filipino people, then it must prioritize bills which will increase the workers’ salaries,” she added.

Several proposals calling for a legislated wage increase of P750 and P150 are pending in Congress.

Ms. De Jesus, a former party-list representative in Congress, raised concerns that Charter change (“Cha-cha”) proposals are allegedly target term extensions and softening limits of foreign ownership in the country.

She called “Cha-cha” a “trojan horse” for increased liberalization and opening the country to foreign domination.

She also sounded the alarm over a television commercial blaming the current state of the Constitution for the country’s economic woes.

“Is it really just a coincidence that after the government released a statement “studying” “Cha-cha,” a certain group sponsored a TV ad campaigning to revise the Constitution?” said Ms. De Jesus, a former representative of Gabriela in Congress.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez revisited proposals to amend the Constitution to ease economic restrictions.

However, Senate Majority Leader Joel J. Villanueva maintained his firm stance against “Cha-cha,” saying it is not the solution to immediate issues like hunger, lack of jobs, and the El Niño phenomenon. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz