Pinoys in Canada launch Anti-chacha Coalition

A group of Filipinos in Canada recently organized a united opposition coalition to the Marcos Charter Change (Cha Cha). (Photo Credit: Malaya Canada)

A group of Filipinos in Canada has recently formed a united opposition coalition to the Marcos Charter Change (ChaCha). The online meeting on May 8 marked the soft launch of the Pinoy Overseas Coalition Against Charter Change, also known as POCHA. The event was jointly organized by Malaya Canada and Bayan Canada. The anti-chacha coalition will hold its formal launch later this year.

POCHA seeks to expose the false narratives that the Marcos ChaCha is the panacea for Philippine economic development. Marcos Jr.’s economic advisors claim that by removing economic restrictions from the Philippine Constitution, the charter amendments would increase foreign direct investments, create more employment, and stimulate the economy. POCHA refutes these claims. Instead, the proposed amendments will exacerbate the country’s problems and contribute to increased unemployment and poverty.

In its statement, POCHA declared that “amending the Philippine Constitution to encourage greater foreign investment and eliminate economic constraints will result in severe and total foreign dominance of the Philippine economy, especially in our public utilities, education system, advertising, and entertainment industry.”

“Removing these restrictions ostensibly to increase investments, generate employment, and stimulate the economy does not ensure progress; rather, it results in the forfeiture of the economic sovereignty and national patrimony of the Filipino people,” the statement continued.

Ning Torres-Upton, the coalition spokesperson, and other community leaders representing church groups, community organizations, migrant groups, and artists’ groups, among others, endorsed the statement. They assert that overseas Filipinos residing in Canada and other countries have every reason to be indignant regarding the complete sale of the Philippines to foreign entities.

Ning Torres-Upton, Spokesperson, Pinoy Overseas Coalition against Charter Change (Photo Credit: Ning Upton FB page)

“Filipinos in Canada and abroad have every reason to be enraged and ought to exert every effort to oppose and reject the proposed constitutional amendments by Marcos Jr. The attempt to amend the Philippine Constitution is motivated by malice during a critical juncture when there are more urgent matters that require consideration,”  the anti-chacha coalition added.

Chris Sorio, Secretary General for Migrante Canada, stated in a separate interview that the Marcos ChaCha is flawed and wrong in all aspects.

“Lalo po nitong paiigtingin ang kahirapan sa ating bayan. Magpapatuloy ang kawalan ng trabaho at patuloy na lalabas ang mga Pilipino para maghanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa. Hindi prayoridad ang charter change ngayon,  dapat po ay unahin ng gobyerno ang trabaho sa Pilipinas at hindi chacha,” Sorio said.

Wilma Delo , Bayan Canada chair, opposed the Marcos ChaCha by asserting that its primary objective is to ensure the Marcoses and their supporters retain power, escalate red tagging, and maintain the presence of US military bases in the Philippines.

According to Delo, the Marcos Chacha is intended to allow all foreign military operations to take place in the Philippines, just as Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy program does.

Wilma Delo, Bayan Canada chair. (Photo credit: Bayan Canada)

Just recently, under the pretense of peace missions, DFA Secretary Enrique  Manalo visited Canada to discuss the Indo-Pacific strategy for increased military aid to the Philippines.

“Isa ang Canada sa mga obserber sa katatapos na Balikatan exercises sa Pilipinas na ginawa ng Pilipinas, US at Pransiya noong Mayo 10. Ginagamit ang Indo-pacific strategy para sa paglala ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao. VFA, EDCA, Indo-Pacific strategy, lahat ito ay allowed na sa Marcos chacha,” Delo added.

POCHA will  join anti-chacha protests in the Philippines on May 22 with online selfie posts against Marcos’ charter change. Other measures are also being planned to mobilize Filipinos in Canada to continue the fight against the Marcos ChaCha. ###