The Philippines’ opposition movement gathered by the thousands across cities on 25 February to protest against Marcos Jr’s plans to amend the Constitution, using the 38th anniversary celebrations of the people’s uprising that ousted his father in 1986 to rally support.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos Diocese said politicians have plenty of rhetoric about social ills and stressed that now is the time for concrete action to combat these problems.

“The root cause of our problems is really corruption, and our political system bears significant responsibility to it,” said Alminaza, who is also the vice president of Caritas Philippines.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the largest coalition in the country, said it has been working with various groups in a “broad movement” that opposes constitutional amendments.

Dubbed as “Koalisyon Laban sa ChaCha,” the group, composed of various religious groups and civil society organizations, asserted that charter change is not the solution to the country’s problems.

The country’s biggest labor alliance also called on Congress that it need not tinker with the 1987 Constitution, saying that it is not the key to the long-aspired economic prosperity but the implementation of critical constitutional provisions, which includes the ban on political dynasties.

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa) also pointed out establishing a living wage, strengthening job security, protecting workers who organize unions, setting up environmental protections, and other human rights and social justice clauses.

In a related development, youth organizations launched last February 21 the Movement Against Charter Change (MATCHA) Youth Alliance at the Commission on Human Rights, declaring their opposition to the people’s initiative charter change (cha-cha) being pushed by a Marcos administration-affiliated group. 

Meanwhile, a newly formed alliance of teachers and academics has branded the government’s Charter change campaign as a form of historical distortion, warning that efforts to tweak the fundamental law also aim to erase the memory of the years-long anti-Marcos struggle that birthed the country’s democratic cornerstone.

The Teachers, Education Workers, and Academics Against Charter Change (TEACH) described the Charter change campaign as an attempt to rewrite history and downplay the people’s struggle against authoritarian rule under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the president’s father.