By Democrito C. Barcenas
The dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covi-19) pandemic has devastated and paralyzed our country. The recent count of Covid-19 cases has reached 72,269, with 1,843 deaths.
Many companies, more than a fourth or 26 percent of the private sector have closed, according to the trade department. Others are laying off workers and some industries are on the verge of collapse.
Millions are now jobless, and the staggering number of unemployed has crippled our already moribund economy. With the vindictive act of this regime not to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN, another 11,000 people have joined the army of the unemployed.
Not only is our economy but also our health system is on the verge of breakdown. According to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, most of the hospitals in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Iloilo had reached their full bed capacity for Covid-19 cases.
Yet the Duterte government has an insensitive way of ending the people’s misery by the sinister move of having Charter Change (Cha-Cha). The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), which is under the thumb of Malacañang, is pressing for charter change ostensibly to boost investments.
But the ultimate purpose of Cha-Cha is to remove the term limits of elected officials and to scrap the 2022 elections. This would give President Duterte an opportunity to perpetuate himself in power.
Vice President Leni Robredo is right when she urged the government to make measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 its priority, and not charter change.
Duterte’s mouthpiece, Harry Roque, announced that charter change is not the President’s priority.
We must be wary of this reassurance because it gives us a false sense of security. An oppressive government has a way of deluding us by making rosy promises but doing the exact opposite.
As the saying goes, “if you deceive me once, shame on you. If you deceive me twice, shame on me!”