Credible elections more important than Charter change


I AM glad any Charter change measure has no more hope of getting approved in Congress during the term of President Benigno Aquino.

We don’t need it, even if it is not linked in any way to term extensions, or other schemes to perpetuate or politically benefit incumbent elective officials, including the President, and even granting it would be limited as they claim to economic amendments.

People put very little trust in the words of politicians but even if they are telling the truth why insist on Charter change at this time when the economy is doing well, especially compared to other countries like China whose stock market is reeling, and Greece which is bankrupt.

Would Charter change bring more foreign investments and more capital into the economy? Maybe. Would it bring more economic stability? Maybe.

Would it bring about political instability? Surely. And such would have an effect on the economy as well. The resulting political noise charter change moves would create prior to actually being able to implement it is bound to do more harm before good, more harm that we don’t need at this time.

I have given my reasons against Charter change more than once in this column. I will not repeat those reasons. I will just say that it is simply bad timing to ram Charter change down our people’s throats when the main worries for most Filipinos nowadays is keeping their jobs and putting food on the table.

Charter change measures if they are to be pursued successfully should be done at the beginning of an administration’s term, not at its end.

Besides I really believe that Charter change will not alleviate the worries of most Filipinos.

Good governance could, and good governance is possible even without Charter change. It only takes our leaders’ commitment to their Constitutional oath that a public service is a public trust.

We need less corruption, which drains billions from the public coffers that would otherwise go to social services and infrastructure.

We need a smooth transition of power to a duly elected government promptly following elections. We do not need election scandals. We need a credible election that could sustain democracy in the longer term. We need this administration to hold free, fair and credible elections in 2016.

Public institutions should play a leading role in setting good governance. Strong public institutions, an equally strong civil society, the enforcement of justice, the observance of due process and human rights, these are the bedrock of a healthy democracy.

We do not need a new Constitution to have these. Instead the government must remain faithful and practice the provisions of the 1987 Constitution to have these.

Now more than ever, we need more political and economic empowerment for our people. We need more jobs and opportunities, our best bets for a sustainable democracy and economic development.

Charter change will not give us these.

The administration should just ensure a peaceful transfer of power to the next President who hopefully could do a lot better.

Pinoy sailors on Greek merchant fleet will be fine.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is hopeful that thousands of Filipino sailors aboard the Greek merchant fleet will be fine regardless of the Hellenic Republic’s government-debt crisis.

We are counting on Greek trading ships, which are earning quite a lot in US dollars, to stay afloat. They are fairly insulated from the Greek government’s extreme financial distress.

The Greek merchant fleet is a vital cog of global trade. Greek companies run 16 percent of the world’s ocean-going trading vessels.

Greece is the Philippines’ fifth-largest source of dollar remittances from sailors, after the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

Some 53,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are in Greece, and the majority of them are sailors on merchant ships operating out of Athens.

OFWs in Greece remitted a total of $335.45 million to their families in the Philippines in 2014, and 87 percent of the cash came from sailors.

Sailors now generate 25 cents out of every dollar that the Philippines receives by wire from an OFW.

Filipino sailors around the world sent home a record-high $5.755 billion in 2014, up $540 million, or 10.3 percent, from $5.215 billion in 2013.

From January to April this year, they wired home a total of $1.916 billion, up $102 million, or 5.6 percent, from $1.814 billion over the same four-month period in 2014.

The Greek government, which owes foreign creditors some $359 billion, failed to make a $1.73-billion loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund that was due June 30.

The Greeks were set to vote Sunday in a referendum whether to accept or reject harsh austerity measures demanded by foreign creditors in return for fresh bailout loans.


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1 Comment

  1. The automation of elections law which was created in 2010 is the foundation of the smartmatic deals and those who planned and voted that law were convinced that it can provide transparent and credible elections. Now that some of the machines breakdown during election day so who will count the votes and verify it? The law passed is absolute unless changed but the powers behind the law know that it has a purpose despite its questioned credibility. Just follow the automation law, they say.