FSGO (Former Senior Government Officials) Statement to Stop Charter Change.

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  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/ypsorg/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 716.

Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) 17 August 2008

A Call for Decisive Action by the Senate

We are former senior government officials committed to strengthening our country’s democratic institutions in the service of the people.

The Filipino people are facing hard times. Prices of basic commodities have risen rapidly. Job losses and reduced incomes are getting worse. The economy is faltering and millions of poor and middle class families are suffering. Poverty and hunger, already widespread even during better times, are worsening under pressure of higher fuel and food prices.

Many communities from Pangasinan to Samar to Panay are still struggling to recover from the terrible damage of recent typhoons and floods. Toxic chemicals, capable of contaminating our seas, still lurk under water in the sunken derelict of the MV Princess of the Stars off Sibuyan island. Thousands of family members of past victims of Sulpicio Lines’ negligence are still crying out for justice and reparation. Failures of government agencies that made disasters much more harmful remain uncorrected.

These are the terrible burdens of ordinary Filipinos that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ignored while she junketed in America and China. Instead of leading our government to help lighten our people’s suffering, the President adds further to our problems by, first, unveiling an agreement with the MILF that disturbs many communities that have not been consulted and may increase the risks of war breaking out once more in Mindanao; and, second, provoking political unrest and instability by declaring “all systems go” for constitutional change that is widely suspected as a ploy to extend her power beyond 2010. These actions by the President only divide the nation, distract our government from what it must do to advance our common welfare, and thus increase our people’s anger, mistrust, dissatisfaction and rejection of her administration.

We turn to the Senate of the Republic as our only real hope today for more responsible national political leadership. With decisive collective action, the Senate can arrest the country’s descent to division, unrest and, eventually, to chaos and disorder. We call on at least 12 senators to promptly declare their refusal to vote for any resolution that can lead to a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution while President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in power. This action will stop the cha-cha train on its tracks and enable the people and the government to focus on solving the real problems of the economy and society. Any move to amend the Constitution under this administration will only divide our people and distract us from our more important tasks.

Clearly, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not using the vast powers of the presidency for the benefit of the nation’s interests and future. She is using the presidency only to ensure her political survival and perpetuate her stay in power beyond 2010. The Senate should not allow the President to keep the nation captive to her self-serving agenda.

We, therefore, urge the Senate to perform its role in democratic checks and balance by passing a resolution that effectively stops this attempt to change our Constitution during GMA’s time.