Workers urge Senate and Congress to junk the All-Trade Pact Toxic waste provisions prove again that JPEPA is disadvantageous for Filipinos

Original Publication Date: 
24 October, 2006

Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) today issued strong opposition to the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) approved between the RP and Japan governments. KMU also urged members of Senate and Congress to junk the All-Trade Pact that will allow the entry into the country of highly damaging, hazardous toxic wastes from Japan.

The JPEPA was signed last September 9 in Helsinki. This agreement, that has been prepared since 2002, was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. It has been negotiated secretly, even without any information to the House of Representatives or the Senate.

"The JPEPA is more than a trade agreement. It is essentially about increasing and ensuring Japanese investments. Advanced countries like Japan have already ensured market expansion for their manufacturers, traders and service providers. Now, Japanese corporations want the removal of remaining constraints in their entry and operation," said KMU International Department Secretary Tess Dioquino.

She further added, "Corporations and investors are coming here because they want to take advantage of lower wages and weaker labor, health and safety, and environmental measures. The JPEPA deregulates Japanese investments further. Such agreements which aim to increase investor rights and benefits, will only be to the detriment of the underdeveloped countries like the Philippines."

"The dominance of TNCs in the Philippines harms the growth of domestic-owned companies. Our economy hasn't benefited from all the former "economic partnerships" controlled by former colonial masters such as the US and Japan."

Companies in industrialized countries want to increase their profits by avoiding the environmental rules in their counties. By just exporting to the Philippines, they have a very cheap solution for their waste. The JPEPA sets a zero tariff for ash and residues, waste organic solvents, pharmaceutical waste, municipal waste and even chemical wastes.

"By signing such agreements President Macapagal-Arroyo menaces the health of the Filipino people and the livelihood of farmers and fishermen. The provisions on toxic waste prove that the JPEPA is disadvantageous for the Filipino people." Dioquino concluded.

Japan is already dominantly present in the Philippine economy. It is an important source of financing for a bankrupt Philippine government. But Japan also earns billions of dollars for whatever it decides to pour into the country. In 2002, Japanese corporations belonging to the top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines raked in nearly P595 billion ($10.54 billion) in revenues.