Is it time to Cha-Cha?

For several times, we rejected the proposal to amend our constitution out of fears of ‘hidden motives’ that are already widely discussed. Whether the ‘fears’ had basis or not, those were not important. The past proposals were all archived for ‘good’.

During the Ramos administration (in 1997), we witnessed the first attempt to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The proposed amendments became very popular as Charter Change or “Cha-Cha.” Criticism stormed the proposal. It never prospered, of course.

Ousted president, Joseph Estrada had also his own version of Cha-Cha called Constitutional Correction for Development (CONCORD). Again, it never got much support. Unlike the previous proposal, CONCORD was more attractive because of the keyword, “economy”.

In 2005, then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. led several congressmen in pursuing a move to amend the Constitution through the Constituent Assembly. Once again, criticism rained the proposal. On December 2006, de Venecia declared, “Con-ass [constituent assembly] initiative is now dead.” [1]

In April 2008, 11 Senators (It increases to 16.) backed Joint Resolution No. 10 – a new tune of old Cha-Cha. The lower house expressed support as long as the change is after 2010. The keyword “Federalism” excites many.

Now, Cha-Cha is no longer danced – it becomes talk of the town. Is this the right time to Cha-Cha?

Joint Resolution No. 10 seems stand out as “the fairest of all Cha-Cha proposal”. It doesn’t receive the “usual” storms of criticism. It seems Joint Resolution No. 10 is so beautiful that is “not stoned” with typical “protest actions” and not drowned with monotonous chants.

The beauty of the most recent proposal to amend our constitution lies on keyword “Federalism”. It’s been too long since we hear the clamor of the “need” to decentralize our system. Those in the province complained that government power has long been concentrated in Manila. Now, the time has come – an opportunity to those in the provinces.

Yes, there is a need to change. We need change. But change must not be done in a hasty manner.

Let’s talk on this matter first – our consensus later.

Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!

6 thoughts on “Is it time to Cha-Cha?

  1. It’s time to change the constitution, but wait for the current president’s term to end before implementation.

    batang buotan
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  2. Yes, it’s time to change!

    And yes, let us not be too hasty.

    The first step is to be informed. An informed ‘masa’ should be the key towards cautiously moving forward with the much-needed change. Before one rejects or accepts any Cha-cha proposal, one must be aware of all the issues involved, and then make an informed decision.

    I believe the next government should be a transitional one towards eventual federalism. 10 years of Arroyo is way too much already.

    I think why the current move initiated by Joint Resolution 10 (and trhe associated House Joint Resolution) is the confirmation that Arroyo will step down in 2010, as stated by Speaker Nograles. If this is true (we need to be absolutely sure of this), then the move is viable.

    The test of this move will be the people’s response, since majority have already been jaded by previous attempts.

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