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News :: Environment : International : Labor : Politics : Social Welfare
PHILIPPINES: Junk the Toxic Deal with Japan! Junk JPEPA!
09 Nov 2006
With the battle shifting to the Upper House, AKBAYAN Partylist today trooped to the Senate to call for the junking of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). “Japan may have done it once, but we will not allow the dumping of toxic wastes in the country again”, the group said referring to the 1999 incident, when 122 containers declared as “recyclable paper” (which turned out to be clinical wastes) arrived at the Port of Manila.
The Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act (RA 6969), and the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes has been in force and effect then, and yet the Philippines has become a victim of this deceptive dumping. “Ratifying the JPEPA, which may supersede these protective laws, would be no less than digging our own grave and sealing our own coffin”, said AKBAYAN Legal Counsel Atty. Tanya Lat.

Other than the Basel Ban and RA 6969, the importation of wastes are also prohibited by the Philippine Clean Air Act (RA 8749), Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act (RA 6969), Ecological Solid Wastes Management Act (RA 9003), and An Act to Safeguard the Health of the People and Maintain the Dignity of the Nation by Declaring it a National Policy to Prohibit the Commercial Importation of Textile Articles Commonly Known as Used Clothing and Rags (RA 4653). “These laws have been milestones in our campaign for environmental protection, and yet they stand to be trashed in place of literally wastes and garbage”, added Atty. Lat

“Save us from this destructive deal, Junk JPEPA!”, the group appealed to members of the Senate. “Armed with the Constitutional power to ratify treaties entered into by the Executive, prove that this body will not allow this Executive ‘lapse in judgment’”, challenged AKBAYAN.

“The Administration has been pushing for Charter Change that will in effect abolish the Senate, they should be reminded that it was because of the Executive’s secretive manner of negotiations that the agreement now is under attack”, said Atty. Lat. Akbayan has filed a mandamus case in the Supreme Court for the JPEPA negotiators to disclose the full text of the agreement. Copies of the agreement were released only after the treaty has been signed by President Arroyo and Prime Minister Koizumi in Finland on September 9, 2006, on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Summit.

Trade commitments in JPEPA will not only affect the environment, but will also have a serious impact in the lives of the average Filipino affecting not only the prices of agricultural and industrial products, but also the job security and employment of the Filipino workers in surviving local industries. “With the agreement hastily concluded in a manner that shrouded in secrecy, only the JUNKING of the JPEPA can save us from the damaging affects of this agreement”, said Atty. Lat.

November 7, 2006
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