“WOE TO THOSE WHO MAKE UNJUST LAWS, TO THOSE WHO ISSUE OPPRESSIVE DECREES” (Isaiah 10:1 – NIV)
We, the Executive Commission of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), gathered on February 27 – March 1, 2018, to consider matters affecting the life, ministry and mission of our Church. We consider Charter Change is an important issue in our time because it will have a direct effect in peoples’ lives.
A consultative committee was created by President Rodrigo Duterte composed of legal and known personalities which had approved already a federal-presidential form of government to replace the present system of government. The Duterte Administration has deemed necessary to change the form of government, posing that the federal government will best serve the people’s interest. The threat of another charter change (Cha-Cha) is again haunting the Filipino people under current administration.
The Church clearly understands that there is nothing inherently wrong with amending the Constitution; just as change is constant. Though with the past administrations, up to the current, with their ulterior motives and process of amending the Constitution, was, and still, not a simple proposition to change the system of government to Federalism. Rather, the efforts is focused on granting full authority whose center of power is bestowed to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, yielding him legislative powers, institutionalizing the discredited economic liberalization policy and which will actually weaken people’s rights, and will lead further in the government’s selling of the country’s patrimony as a sovereign nation; leaving the Filipino People in the graveyard of poverty.
A federal-presidential or a federal-parliamentary form of government to be created at present time will reinforce the greed of the few selfish politicians, including President Rodrigo Duterte. Evidently studies of the progressive parties in the congress and a number of senators have expressed distrust, and shown that Duterte’s cha-cha cannot solve the problem of widespread poverty, hunger, unemployment, low wages, corruption, landlessness and high prices of basic commodities. In fact, we in the Church believes that it will only proliferate the country’s problems.
We understand that the Filipino people will not benefit in this cha-cha, only the ruling classes in the country – bureaucrat capitalists, big traders (local and foreign) and big landlords – are the real beneficiaries in the proposed constitutional change. It is so because some proposed provisions limit the participation of people. The participation of people in the democratic exercise will limit to the freedom of suffrage, and people power to change the system will be prohibited. On the other hand, foreign investors will be given one hundred percent (100%) full right to own big tract of lands and investments in our country.
The proposed Charter change under the Duterte administration is a step towards dictatorial regime. It is self-serving scheme for the elites to perpetuate in power. It is total sell-out of national economy and patrimony. It is a direct assault on the dignities and rights of the Filipinos.
We join the various sectors, government and non-government organization in opposing this Duterte Cha-Cha. It includes institutions and church leaders, law experts, youth students, professionals, progressive lawmakers, actors and publishers and more importantly, from the basic sector of the peasant, national minority, worker and other poor localities.
We, in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, abhor this kind of maneuver from the detested classes in our society. The ruling classes cannot anymore rule on its old way. They want a system that can be used for their own welfare and well-being.
The Lord God will punish those who are greedy and lover of power and authority at the expense of the poor people of God. Leaders of this country, heed that you are not above God nor His people; you should obey the Lord God – let justice roll like an ever-flowing stream. Serve the people with love, mercy and compassion.
We call on the Duterte Administration to put a stop to this threat and assault against the God’s people! Go back to the peace negotiation table and discuss with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, which will benefit the poor Filipino people.
We call on the IFI faithful to take active participation in pursuing just and lasting peace. Let us utilize our resources and facilities in educating church members and even non-members on the adverse effect of Cha-Cha to the Filipino people.
We call on the members to join the various formations and movements that oppose charter change. Lastly, we encourage the Filipino people to join the No to Cha-cha Coalition.
“Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9)
Pro Deo et Patria!
1 March 2018 | IFI Centennial House, Las Piñas City