Changing the constitution of different countries worldwide has been in the agenda of the lobbying efforts of multinational financial institutions and corporations the past years, in an effort to open up their national patrimonies and natural resources to foreign exploitation and ownership.
If you think it’s all about the personal and political motives of our politicians, it’s worse than you think. All charter change attempts by all Philippine presidents after Corazon Aquino have a common motif–amendments to our nationalist economic provisions, to allow the wanton foreign exploitation of our natural resources and foreign ownership of our public utilities.
Even with the 1987 Philippine Constitution in place (and its 60-40 ownership restrictions in many national industries), the country’s rich natural resources have only been exploited, through legal loopholes, by local and foreign corporations for profit instead of serving its potential of lifting the millions of Filipinos who continue to suffer from abject poverty out of their tragic situation.
The current attempt at changing the Philippine Constitution will not only seek to extend the Arroyo administration’s hold on power, but will also legitimize the economic plunder of our country. All the more reasons to reject the Arroyo administration’s current attempt at Charter Change.
The latest report on Foreign Trade Barriers of March 2009 on the Philippines by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) explicitly states the “[aim to reduce or eliminate] the most important foreign barriers affecting US exports of good and services, foreign direct investment [and] intellectual property rights.”
The political dimension of charter change has dominated the national agenda. But the constant driving force behind all the attempts since the last decade to modify the Constitution has been the external pressure coming mainly from the WTO, the US, the EU and other rich countries to create the sort of policy environment that will allow globalization to fully thrive in the Philippines.
The Americans, like the Europeans, have an inventory of what they call “barriers” in the Philippine Constitution that they want the Arroyo regime to remove through constitutional amendments. Meanwhile, the Constitution will have to conform with the Jpepa, the Philippine-Japan agreement, not the other way around.
On July 25, 2005, Mrs. Arroyo hired the lobbying and representation services of US-based Venable LLP, one of America’s top 100 law firms, for a substantial sum of $75,000 a month, or $900,000 (P50.4 million) for 12 months, to “secure grants and (US) congressional earmarks” for her initiative to “reshape the form of government”¦into a parliamentary federal system.”