Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tango and Chacha in Manila

I have been in Manila twice in two weeks. Last March 8-11, I was here for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Express Yourself hands-on workshop on blogging and podcasting. See my early posts for this very fruitful experience.

I'm back in the capital since Tuesday afternoon (March 13). For two days at the Sulo Hotel, I and about three dozen local government officials and social development workers discussed Charter Change (Chacha) and its implication to our nation. It was sponsored by the Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG).

The panel of resource persons was a virtual "enemy" list of Malacanang. Akbayan president Ronald Llamas and UP professor Randy David opened the conference. They were the first persons arrested when Presidential Proclamation 1017 was issued last February 24, the 20th anniversary of People Power 1.

Analysis of current chacha proposals like those at the House of Representatives and the Constitutional Commission (Concom) were extensively discussed. There were presentations by lawyer Ibarra Guiterrez III, director of the Institute of Human Rights of the UP College of Law; trade lawyer Tanya Lat, professor at the FEU Institute of Law; and federalist Soc Banzuela of the Citizens for a Constitutional Convention.

Lawyer Byron Bocar and freelance researcher Frances Lo guided our discussion on different types of parliamentary and federal forms of government from Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Political analyst Joel Rocamora of the Institute of Popular Democracy and Mindanao advocate Tom Villarin also shared their insights on the many issues related with the legitimacy of the current Palace occupant to "creeping martial law" to chacha to the Mindanao issue.

We ended the conference with a new slogan "TANGO bago CHACHA!" (Tanggal Gloria bago charter change, Oust Gloria before charter change). There was a consensus among the participants including elected local officials that charter change at this crucial time was unwise. Those in power were perceived to have just one intent in pushing for chacha - to perpetuate themselves in power.

There were also uniform apprehensions about the various proposals to water down the "freedom" and "nationalist" components of the present charter. You wont believe it but the draft proposal of the Concom has deleted such words and phrases that mirror our aspirations and values. Taken out from the Preamble, for instance were "in order to build a just and human society," "aspirations," "independence," rule of law," "truth," and even "love."

Among the papers distributed at the conference was one by Ramon Casiple of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER). It saw the Concom proposals as a "recipe for national disaster."

Thursday afternoon, I was at the SM Mega Mall to visit the National Trade Fair (NTF) organized by the Department of Trade and Industry. It featured products from micro and small and medium enterprises from 16 regions of the country. The Katakus, Inc. booth from Davao selling hand-made paper novelties was a hit.

Earlier at the Shangrila Mall Thursday morning, I attended a meeting with the officers of Tribomaxx Corporation. They were introducing various alternative fuel products called EcoGreen. They likewsie plan to produce a synthetic fuel which can very well replace fossil fuel in the near future. I will write more on this in future posts.

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