Reactions to Philippine Senate’s ratification of JPEPA

Press releases from anti-JPEPA organizations.

By railroading JPEPA, Senate has compromised the country’s sovereignty and patrimony

Joint statement of NO DEAL! Movement and Bayan on the ratification of the JPEPA
October 9, 2008
Reference: Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, NO DEAL! convenor and Bayan chairperson

The NO DEAL! Movement and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) strongly condemn the Senate’s railroading of the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) on Wednesday night. Sixteen senators led by JPEPA’s sponsors Senators Miriam Santiago and Mar Roxas have compromised the country’s national patrimony and sovereignty by approving a patently one-sided, anti-Filipino economic treaty.

We are not surprised that the JPEPA has been approved while the rest of the country is not watching. This treaty has been negotiated by Malacanang and signed by Ms Gloria Arroyo in virtual secrecy. The undemocratic and non-transparent manner with which the deal has been conceived has resulted in a seriously flawed agreement that threatens to further destroy the jobs and livelihood of Filipino workers, farmers and fishers and further destroy local industries and stunt long-term economic development. The Senate hearings on the JPEPA have already exposed these defects of the agreement, as well as the questionable gains of the treaty such as the supposed increased access of Filipino nurses and health workers to Japan. The Senate hearings have also exposed the JPEPA as unconstitutional as it violates the provisions of the 1987 Constitution on foreign ownership and investment among others.

Yet despite these obvious defects of the JPEPA, 16 senators still gave in to the strong lobbying of Malacanang, the Japanese government, and Japanese businesses and only four senators heroically stood for the national and people’s interests. We laud patriotic Senators Jamby Madrigal, Chiz Escudero, Nene Pimentel and Noynoy Aquino for rejecting an agreement that will only result in further underdevelopment and increased poverty and marginalization in the country.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the senators of who voted for JPEPA’s ratification, some of whom have expressed presidential ambitions. This early, tinimbang sila ngunit kulang (they were weighed but found wanting). When the time came to test their mettle as political leaders, Senators Roxas, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda and Ping Lacson were definitely found lacking in nationalist credentials.

Today is a dark day for the country’s sovereignty and patrimony but we vow to continue our struggle against the JPEPA. We will use all available means – from mass protests to the Supreme Court – to stop its implementation.

We believe in economic cooperation among countries such as through bilateral trade and investment deals. But such cooperation must be founded on mutual respect and benefit. JPEPA has completely failed to meet these basic and non-negotiable requirements.

NO DEAL! Movement against unequal economic agreements is a coalition composed of the following: CONVENORS Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Fr. Rudy Abao, MSC Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran Rafael Mariano, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Nitz Gonzaga, Kilusang Mayo Uno Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Jossel Ebesate, R.N., Alliance of Health Workers Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Clemente Bautista Jr. Kalikasan People’s Network Rechielda Extremadura, Lila Filipina Arman Albarillo, Bayan-Southern Tagalog Roy Velez, Bayan-NCR Ed Cubelo, Toyoto workers union president Sonny Africa, Ibon Foundation Prof. Roland Simbulan, UP Arnold Padilla, spokesperson

Environmentalists outraged over the ratification of JPEPA

Militant environmental group, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) is enraged at the outcome of the Senate’s hasty approval of the ratification of the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

“We are outraged by the ratification of the toxic agreement JPEPA. The JPEPA is unconstitutional, an affront to our sovereignty and a threat to our environment and the Filipino people.” said Clemente Bautista Jr., coordinator of Kalikasan-PNE, a network representing 41 organizations, NGOs, and regional formations nationwide.

The senators who approved the treaty close to midnight yesterday are Miriam Santiago, Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Alan Peter Cayetano, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Ramon Revilla Jr, Manuel Roxas II, Senate president Manuel Villar Jr, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Bautista expressed, “We are utterly disappointed by the vote of these senators especially those who shamelessly claim to be environmentalists but are really puppets and protectors of foreign interests as revealed by their actions. Legarda and Zubiri are no better off than the makapili or Japanese collaborators. They don’t even have the decency of owning up to their true intentions and instead flaunt the pretension of being pro-environment and pro-Filipino.”

We reiterate our respect for the senators who stood their ground and did not sell the Filipinos out, but we are disappointed at the the majority who turned a deaf ear to the clamor of the people to reject the unfair treaty.

Bautista reiterated several issues that the Senate hearings failed to resolve and issued a ‘fearful forecast’ of the JPEPA’s expected effects.

One of the provisions of JPEPA is the imposition of zero tariffs on toxic wastes. Even as the Japan and the Philippine government assure the public that both parties will be protected by national and international laws banning the importation of wastes, environmentalists are not convinced. Bautista forewarned, “Expect the increase in trading and entry of voluminous waste from Japan to our country. The national and international laws will only be secondary to JPEPA, for if both governments are intent in securing the safety of its citizens, then the provision on the exchange of wastes should not have been there in the first place.”

The JPEPA contains many other provisions that alert those who oppose it that pose grave implications to the environment and the Filipinos. “The same toxic JPEPA will increase the vulnerability and degradation of our environment as it encourages the implementation of destructive projects by Japanese transnational corporations such as large-scale mining, biofuel plantatations, large hydro-dams, coal-powered plants and commercial fishing. Decades of “free-trade” with other industrialised nations did not prove to be beneficial to the country. We even found ourselves in deepening economic and environmental crisis each year as liberalization and “free-trade” intensifies.” Bautista pointed out.

The fight for the sovereignty and patrimony of the Philippines will not stop here. We will join the masses and other organization in questioning and probing still the legitimacy of JPEPA.” ended Bautista.

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