People’s Initiative must come from informed public

People’s Initiative must come from informed public

Jan 22, 2024, 1:24 AM
OpinYon Editorial

OpinYon Editorial


As the government is now indicating its openness to amend certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, there are already reports here in Laguna province about certain groups pushing to amend the Constitution through the so-called “People’s Initiative.”

There is, in principle, nothing to worry about with People’s Initiative when it comes to amending our basic law. After all, as all our Constitutions have guaranteed, sovereignty resides in the people and all power emanates from them.

And since the amendments will forever change not only our political but also our economic and social landscape, it is only just and fair that the people who will be affected should be involved in the process.

But as recent reports have it, there have been alleged instances in Laguna where those responsible for the signature campaign would often try to entice the public with promises of money or gifts to those who would sign.

Moreover, there were also alleged instances where people didn’t even know what they were signing for.

These incidents smack of patronage politics and wholesale political bribery that has, unfortunately, become part and parcel of Filipino politics.

That, unfortanately, has also brought up the issue of whether WHO will benefit from amending the Constitution.

Old arguments and fears that traditional politicians will try to tangle with the political provisions such as removing term limits, extending terms of public officials, or even changing the very form of government have been raked up – with reason.

Here’s the thing: a genuine People’s Initiative should come from a public who is not only well-informed but skilled in critical thinking and analysis – traits that critics have lamented are seriously lacking among the Filipino masses.

That’s especially worrying as there is the real possibility that fake news and disinformation will once again rear their ugly head to influence people who are too often willing to go with the flow or sell their principles for a measly P500.

Whatever means we adopt in amending our Constitution, it is imperative that the public who will be the most affected by this move should not only be informed but also trained in looking through the banal promises and seeing the real impact of changing our basic laws.

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