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CBCP urges more studies on Charter change

Filed under: Top Story |

CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas

MANILA, June 8, 2015— The Catholic hierarchy urged Congress to hold off passing the proposed measure to amend the Constitution until it can be studied more closely.

In a pastoral statement, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said there is no need to rush Charter change because it is the future of the Filipinos and the nation that are at stake.

CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas is encouraging the conduct of wide-ranging studies to ensure that proposed amendments are according to the precepts of social justice.

“Before we rush into amending the Constitution, we, your bishops, urge all responsible to conduct serious studies in economics, sociology, the law and in related disciplines including the Catholic social teachings,” Villegas said.

The statement entitled “Let us be circumspect” was issued on Monday as the proposed measure gains ground in Congress, guided by the belief that it is the key to reviving foreign investment flow into the country.

‘Purely economic reasons’

But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., said it is purely for economic reasons and will not include amending any political provisions of the Constitution such as term limits.

In the past, the bishops noted how they agreed with those that drafted the 1987 Constitution be designed to primarily safeguard and uphold Filipinos’ socio-economic interests.

“Rightly, we have always steered away from the prospect of foreigners enriching themselves by the country’s resources and our labor force, transferring their earnings overseas, and leaving us none the better because of their presence and their exploitation of our resources, both natural and human! This should remain a paramount principle,” Villegas stressed

Points to consider

In studying Charter change, Villegas said it should have “clear answers” to the following questions:

  • What do we, as a nation, stand to gain from relaxing the provisions now deemed restrictive?
  • How are we assured that the resources of the country, both natural and human, benefit Filipino nationals principally?
  • What are the human, social, and environmental costs of lifting present limits to foreign participation in Philippine economic and business affairs?

Needed diligence

The bishops also urged the lay faithful to get involved in the issue and study other aspects “that may find relevant with assiduousness and diligence” and share their findings with the CBCP.

“We welcome the truly scholarly and diligent analyses of all. With these studies, we can more wisely look at the move to amend the Constitution in the light of our Christian faith,” Villegas said.

“Only then shall we be prepared to take a moral stand in respect to the proposed amendment of the Constitution,” he added. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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