Youth group: No future under Marcos cha-cha

By Maujerie Ann Miranda

An anti charter change (cha-cha) alliance urged fellow youth and students to oppose ongoing moves by the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government to change the country’s constitution, saying proposed amendments to the country’s charter shall result in robbing them of a bright future.

The Movement Against Charter Change Youth Alliance (MATCHA) said among proposed changes that will severely impact the youth are plans to approve total foreign ownership of educational institutions that are feared to hamper quality education and intensify campus repression.

“Gusto natin ng nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education. Hindi natin ‘yun makakamit under Marcos, lalo na ‘pag naipasa ‘yung cha-cha,” MATCHA convenor and Philippine Collegian journalist Gie Rodelas said in an interview.

“Commercialized na ‘yung education natin at ‘pag pumasok pa ‘yung foreign ownership, lalo lang mapa-privatize ‘yung educational institutions,” Rodelas added.

The convenor explained that 100% foreign ownership of educational institutions will lead to regular tuition increase as well as constriction of academic freedom due to business considerations.

Launched last month, MATCHA is composed of student councils, campus publications and student organizations as founding members.

MATCHA declared it is a multi-sectoral youth alliance against the government’s “deceptive, anti-Filipino and self-serving efforts for charter change.”

After weeks of silence amid bickering members of both houses of Congress, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. finally came out in support of moves to change the country’s charter, ostensibly its economic provisions to allow for greater foreign ownership of business, including education.

MATCHA however said it will not be farfetched to assume that legislators moving to change the constitution would also lift term limits of elected officials, including the president.

“We don’t want Marcos to extend his power. Ngayon pa lang na two years pa lang tayo under Marcos, ramdam na natin yung repression [at] hindi naman umuunlad ang Pilipinas,” Rodelas said.

Rodelas encouraged the Filipino youth and student organizations to join MATCHA, announcing academic freedom and other education campaigns alongside opposition to charter change.

MATCHA noted the Marcoses have a history of changing constitutions to extend their term of office.

In 1972, the late dictator and the current president’s father Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared Martial Law and created a new constitution, extending his term to a total of 21 years before being ousted in a popular uprising in 1986. #