700 protesters rally against ‘Cha-Cha’ in Cebu City

By: Mark Bandolon - CTU Intern | February 24,2024 - 12:17 PM

Around 700 members from different progressive groups gathered in Colon Street, Cebu to protest against the Cha-Cha initiative on Friday, February 23, 2024. | Mark Bandolon

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Around 700 individuals from various progressive groups in Cebu City protested the Charter Change (Cha-Cha) initiative on Friday, February 23, 2024.

The groups, calling their coalition as “Cebu Citizens’ Agenda Against Cha-Cha,” began with a Holy Mass at Santo Rosario Parish at 9:30 a.m. Then, around 10:40 a.m., they marched from Osmeña Boulevard to Colon Street for a rally called the “Isyu ng Taumbayan.”

During the rally, speakers from different groups discussed issues they deemed more urgent than Cha-Cha.

Emalyn Aliviano from Kilusan Cebu highlighted concerns about oil prices, basic necessities’ costs, calamities, and war conflicts, while Christina Oganiza from Akbayan Cebu emphasized housing, medical care, education, and justice.

The coalition criticized Cha-Cha, calling it a move to benefit politicians.

Teody Navea of Sanlakas Cebu demanded transparency regarding alleged “signature-buying” for constitutional amendments, calling the People’s Initiave as “Politicians’ Initiative”.

They also opposed 100 percent foreign ownership proposals, seeing them as serving the wealthy elite.

In an interview with CDN Digital, Aliviano disagreed with the president’s assertion that flaws in the constitution hinder economic progress, arguing instead that the issue lies with the government’s management.

Aliviano pointed out that the economy has already changed, shown by the 60/40 foreign ownership rule and the focus on foreign investments. She also questioned what else the government aims to accomplish, considering the current state of economic openness.

The coalition urged people, especially the less fortunate, to safeguard their rights and democracy, rather than exchanging them for financial incentives.

They announced plans for indoor activities instead of a rally on the EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary.

They clarified their separation from the Cebu Duterte Prayer Rally set on Sunday at the South Road Properties which former president Rodrigo Duterte is expected to attend. They criticized it as a cover for Duterte’s questionable actions, which they liken to those of President Marcos.

Various progressive groups participated, including KILUSAN-Cebu, Sanlakas, AKBAYAN Citizens Party, Partido Manggagawa Cebu, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) Cebu, Pagtambabayayong Foundation, and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP-Cebu).

Additionally, Alliance of Fisher Folks Cebu, Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilyang Pantawid (SNPP) Cebu Chapter, Urban Poor Alliance of Cebu, Cebu Riders’ Group, and Youth Claim-Cebu were also present.

Only around 700 showed up for the event, fewer than the 1,500 expected. The rally ended peacefully around 11:40 a.m. /clorenciana

READ MORE: Cha-cha key to progress? Look first at Southeast Asia investment regimes

Cha-Cha: Cebu coalition says no to Charter Change

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TAGS: Cebu City, Constitution, No to Charter Change (Cha Cha), protest

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