Home Church in Action Philippine bishop urges ‘collective action’ against Charter change

Philippine bishop urges ‘collective action’ against Charter change

The head of the social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has called on Filipinos to defend democracy by ensuring that their “voices are heard and respected”. 

“We believe in the power of collective action and faith to bring about positive change,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of Caritas Philippines on Thursday. 

The prelate issued the statement a day after church and civil society groups rallied thousands of demonstrators at the ‘People’s March and Prayer Against Charter Change’ on May 22 in front of the Senate.

The demonstration aimed to amplify the voices of Catholic communities, faith-based groups, and sectoral organizations opposed to the proposed revision of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.  

Bishop Bagaforo said the mobilization “wasn’t just a protest” but also “a prayerful plea for our leaders to prioritize the people’s needs,” adding that Caritas Philippines stands united with social movements and churches in “defending our democracy”. 

The demonstrators called on Senate President Francis Escudero to oppose Charter Change and urged the Senate to address critical issues like living wages, human rights, and environmental protection.

Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Manuel Dalipe of Zamboanga City expressed hope that the economic reforms in the Constitution, proposed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., will advance under Senator Escudero’s leadership.

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“I am optimistic that under Senator Escudero’s guidance, Congress will make positive progress toward the economic constitutional reforms advocated by the President,” said Dalipe.

“He brings extensive experience and a proven commitment, which are invaluable as we work to pass laws benefiting our country and its people,” he added.

On Monday, Escudero told reporters that there is a need for further discussions among the majority members of the Senate.

“Again, we will discuss it on the part of the majority and I think I was one of the vocal ones during that time so I don’t see any reason why there should be concerns about that,” he said.

When asked if hearings on Constitutional amendments would continue, Escudero responded with a rhetorical question, “Do we have one now?”

He said it wasn’t his place to declare whether or not Charter change is dead in the Senate but reiterated his personal stance against the proposed amendments.

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