May 29 — As a venue for opposing Charter Change under President Aquino’s government, farmers, workers, academics, professionals, and individuals from other sectors publicly launched the Philippine Land Reform Movement (PLRM) in the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Citing the House of Representatives’ approval on second reading of the Charter Change bill as a big sell-out of the country’s national patrimony, the PLRM vows to link arms with farmers and the rural poor in the struggle for land reform.

Aquino’s Charter Change will remove protectionist provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, thus allowing foreign entities to have 100 percent ownership of public services and utilities.  Cha-cha will authorize the unconstrained entry of foreign mining corporations, agribusinesses, big eco-tourism projects, and real estate giants in the rural areas. The effect on this entry will mean widespread land-grabbing, land-use conversion, and the forced eviction of peasants and the rural poor through military pressure.

“Cha-cha’s 100 percent foreign ownership of lands is directly in contrast with land reform. It removes any remaining pretension of Aquino’s haciendero government on agrarian reform and exposes the President as the brains behind Charter Change,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Rafael Mariano.

According to the PLRM, the 1987 Constitution will also face the threat of political revisions once Charter Change allows amendments, warning that Aquino’s allies will surely lift term limits of the President and other government officials.

“Aquino’s Cha-cha is entering its final stage; we call on the Filipino people to resist the Aquino government’s attempts to put our lands, resources, and national patrimony into global auction,” the PLRM said.