Dabawenyos to House: what?s the rush?

"Gikan ba na sila sa laing nasud" (are they from another country?), an annoyed lumber yard worker along Davao's Leon Garcia Street, asked.


Nong Melvin, 39, was reacting to television news reports on the moves of the House of Representative to get the Philippines Constitution changed.

The supposed representatives in Congress, he said, seem to be disconnected from the people. "They are rushing to change the law, yet they are very slow in addressing the problems of the people," Melvin said.

Abet, 28, a charcoal packer along Bangoy Street, said she cannot comment on something she does not unerstand. "Dili ba dapat ila sa nang ipasabot sa katawhan?" she said. (Are they not supposed to explain it first to the people?)

A traffic officer along Quirino Avenue, who asked not to be named, described the deliberations in the House as "as busy as the traffic of the day".

Abet said she needs more explanation from the experts about charter change. When asked whom she thinks is an expert, she replied, "Basin ang mga kongresista. Pero uyon man sila oi," (Maybe the lawmakers, but they are for charter change.).

Instead of pushing through with the proposed changes, lawmakers should enlighten the people first so they could rally behind the move.

"I don't understand a thing," her co-worker, Dodong, 17, said. He said reports from the radio and television appear to add to his confusion.

Dodong said he is busy with his work to earn a living. "But it must be very important because they are busy about it as I saw it on TV.”

Ray, 17, a student of a Catholic-run school, said he gets the impression that charter change is for old people to talk about. "I don't think they want us to participate," he said.

Elma, 43, a laundrywoman near Piapi market, said she is against any form of charter change because "corrupt leaders" are just using it as a scapegoat for their failure.

Social worker Maridel Inoc, 31, said she isn't sure if the proposed changes are good for majority of the people or just to advance personal interests of the few.
She said she does not know what provisions are to be changed. Inoc admitted she and her
officemates need to deepen their understanding on the issue although she acknowledged that charter change is also "an issue of children's welfare".

Jeepney steward, Joel, 21, joined the conversation and asked if charter change could affect him.


In Matina, Alvin Mondero, 18, a jeepney barker, said no community meetings have been scheduled to explain the issue.

Mondero says he does not want next year’s election to be postponed because it will be his first time to vote.

Zaric, 49, a worker at a furniture shop, said leaders should enlighten and inspire, not confuse or leave the public guessing.

He said it is better to be safe than sorry, thus, he prefers constitutional convention over the constituent assembly, even if the former is reportedly more expensive.

Renante Mejorada, 36, a tricycle driver plying Agdao and Uyanguren streets, said changing the constitution at this time is suspect. He accused the proponents to be self-serving and perpetuating themselves in power.

Mejorada, who supports the political opposition, prefers a constitutional convention.

John Mark, 28, an entrepreneur from Calinan told MindaNews that he finds the move to amend the constitution in time for elections “doubtful.”

"But why don't we give it a chance?" he asked. "Maybe, we should give both sides time to explain," he said.

Wood craftsmen Antonio dela Cruz, 34, and Perfecto Jella, 36, said it would be better if government leaders submit it to the will of the people "if we want changes and how we wanted it changed". "They said there should be a plebiscite. But before that, those who proposed changes should explain first both the advantages and the disadvantages," dela Cruz said.

"Ipasabot sad unta nila ug tarong labi na sa among mga kabus nga unsa ra tawoy natapos sa pageskwela (They should also explain especially it to us the poor, who have limited education), he said.

Manang Ena, 56, a street food vendor along Monteverde Street, said she prefers to discuss lotto results than talk about charter change. She said she is tired of listening to politicians throwing accusations at each other.

But like her neighbors, she said, they talk about what they have heard about the issue as it might affect them.

Manang Ena admitted she does not know how charter change will affect her because she does not know what will be changed. "I wish there will be more explanation", she said.

"Makaon ba na nato ron?" (Can we eat that now?), asked Benjot, 45, while waiting for his bus at the Ecoland Overland Terminal