CenPEG marks 20th founding with public forum on Cha-Cha
Posted 17 March 2024

A public forum on the proposed Charter Change was organized by CenPEG in light of its 20th founding anniversary last March 8 – also International Women’s Day. We celebrate CenPEG’s 20 years of dedicated service, new ideas, and action-driven advocacy!

CenPEG’s mission is iterated in the words of its first Board chairman, Emeritus Professor Bienvenido Lumbera (Ramon Magsaysay Awardee in Literature, National Artist, and People’s Artist), “the power it seeks for the people is in governance. Towards this end, it engages in policy studies, research, education, training and advocacy aimed at securing political and electoral changes that would bring the hitherto marginalized sectors into active participation in defining and shaping the destiny of our nation."

Among the publicly-known works of CenPEG are issues on: corruption, where the center published Corruptionary - the world’s first dictionary of corruption-related words which was relaunched at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Athens and Bangkok and became a National Bookstore bestseller. It conducted the first comprehensive, nationwide study on the Automated Election System (AES) that was used by Comelec in all elections held since 2010. The scientific, critical studies, together with AES Watch, received some public commendations but were also lambasted by Comelec officials for “rumor mongering”.

Aside from policy research, CenPEG has also published 16 books since 2004, among Fraud (2004), Oligarchic Politics (2007), The Moro Reader, Probing Duterte’s Foreign Policy in the New Regional Order: ASEAN, China, and the US (2018); and The Marcos Restoration- The CenPEG Papers on Election 2022 (2022). The latest book, Spies, Clan Politics, and A New World Order, has your truly as sole author.

CenPEG has also shared its evidence-based thoughts with Congress, the presidential office, and major institutions – church, academe, and so on across the country and sometimes in abroad and foreign institutions.

CenPEG as a think tank – which is led by scholars and academics - has established a distinct niche in the advocacy for institutional reforms – in political parties, election system, in foreign and national security policy making, in Congress, and so on. It lent its voice that is driven by its major role as the society continues to struggle for democracy, freedom, and social justice.

The forum attendees listened to different perspectives on Cha-Cha particularly Article 12 on national economy and patrimony. In January of this year, Congress passed Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 5 which seeks to amend not only Art. 12 but also Art. 14 (education and technology) on foreign participation; as well as Art. 16 on foreign investments in advertising.


Notes by Hector Barrios

Tatatlo lang po ang sovereign powers that our people exercise directly: elections, revolution and charter change. All the rest are exercised by government. After nearly 80 years of our republic, dapat magaling na tayo in carrying out these direct sovereign acts.

Unfortunately, hindi pa rin. In the case of charter change, the ones who initiate, discuss and debate proposals are the politicians. Most of them are in government and they carry on in the halls of Congress. In effect, it is an exercise of the political elite. Para silang nasa stage at nanonood lang ang tao. Most of the people will give their precious vote without understanding the issues. Malamang, susunod lang sila sa turo ng mga politicians. Sana, we can improve the process . . can have a more active participation and sense of ownership by the people. Perhaps, more leadership from the private sector can turn it around. Like our heroes this morning who have elucidated the issues for us.

Sana marami pa -- civic leaders, religious leaders, teachers, constitutionalists, economists, journalists – so that there will be a grass roots, country-wide debate.


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Center for People Empowewrment in Governance (CenPEG), Philippines. All rights reserved