Marcos to railroad cha-cha and neoliberal policies this 2023

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaBisaya

Marcos’ lackeys in Congress are determined to rush the “cha-cha” (charter change) under the current regime. According to the head of Lower House committee on constitutional amendments, they will stage “marathon hearings” starting this month to “expedite” the approval of eight proposals and resolutions that all seek to amend the 1987 constitution. Back in December, the committee head, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro, 2nd District) said hearings will “immediately” begin on January 26, and every two weeks thereafter.

Congress representatives want to remove constitutional provisions prohibiting a sitting president from running again, and senators from running for more than two terms, and representatives for more than three times. A proposal to set each term to five years was put forward, and allowing everyone to run for two consecutive terms. This means all elected government officials—from president, vice president, senator, congressman to town councilor—can hold office uninterrupted for 10-years.

Apart from term extension, there is also a push to fully liberalize the remaining sectors of the local econom protected for Filipino-owned businesses. This is in line with the all-out liberalization program of the Marcos regime. Like a broken record, its proponents insist that it can attract new foreign investment, even after promised benefits to the local economy have repeatedly been proven hollow and false.

Another proposal is to call a Constitutional Convention or con-con in December. Initiators want to have con-con delegates (one per congressional district) elected simultaneously with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October.

Apart from charter change, the Marcos regime’s officials and henchmen have also pushed other neoliberal measures. This includes the privatization of the EDSA bus carousel that provided free rides to a daily average of 400,000 commuters in the past two years. Another is the push to privatize the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, using the new year’s day “glitch” as excuse to reopen contract negotiations with the favored bourgeois-compradors.

Meanwhile, last January 1, Marcos extended Executive Order 171, an order issued by Rodrigo Duterte that eased remaining restrictions on the importation of meat, rice, corn and coal. Set to expire at the end of 2022, the order will now cover all of 2023. Along with this was the order to import 64,050 metric tons of sugar and 3 million metric tons of rice for 2023. It also allowed 25,000 tons of imported fish to be sold to local markets from November 2022 until this January.

In the first days of the year, Marcos Jr, along with his family and minions traveled to China to beg for loans and renew old contracts for the benefit of his cronies.

Among the things the regime bragged about was a new $201.8 loan from China for contracts to build bridges and other infrastructure in Metro Manila. The rest are all “memorandums of understanding” that are no different from the agreements boasted by the past Duterte regime.

For sure, these are just the beginning of the oppressive measures and programs that the disastrous Marcos regime will implement this year.

Marcos to railroad cha-cha and neoliberal policies this 2023