Press Statement

10 February 1997


General Ramos' call to amend the constitution in the light of the controversial Manila Hotel decision signals bolder and orchestrated moves by his allies and loyalists to make possible the extension or reelection of the president and overhaul the charter to suit the interests of foreign monopolies. Ramos knows full well he will be receiving a lot of flak by taking this defiant act but such move is shrewd as it will definitely receive a lot of support from the business elite and his imperialist masters -- the kind of support bestowed on Marcos in the 70's. The general will go all the way to achieve his agenda.

The issue here is that such moves open avenues to revert to authoritarian rule in order to give foreign monopoly capitalists wider latitude to plunder our national economy.

Early 1972 Ferdinand Marcos questioned the Quasha decision of the Supreme Court which upheld the Filipinos' right to national patrimony (over and above alien interests) as a material basis for safeguarding the national integrity. The highest tribunal's decision -- made in the backdrop of a strong nationalist stream during this period -- and his own greed to remain in power in the service of US, comprador and landlord interests prompted Marcos to declare martial law in September that year. The dictator railroaded the "approval" of his own constitution which in effect also nullified the SC decision.

The US-Ramos regime's centerpiece economic policies under the pro-globalization Structural Adjustment Program (SAP, which includes trade and investment liberalization, privatization of public utilities and services and deregulation) actually go against the grain of current charter. (The 1987 charter itself based some of its major provisions on the Quasha case.) This is the reason why the Supreme Court has had an overload of cases questioning the constitutionality of major Ramos policies including the Mining Act, the GATT ratification, and the oil deregulation policy and other cases.

Bayan puts forward the view that "protectionism" should be interpreted not in the narrow sense used by Ramos and his ilk that the principle is outmoded. We oppose the regime's moves to place the country wide open for foreign capital which practically means allowing predators to take over our fragile economy. We assert protectionism to uphold and safeguard the economic interests of the broad masses including small entrepreneurs-- and not to protect the interests of foreign and local monopolists. In the light of the marginalization of our local agriculture and industry and the added suffering wrought by Ramos' economic policies, economic protectionism and nationalist industrialization are all the more urgent.

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