Friday, September 21, 2007

Pro-JPEPA numbers: Misleading the Nation

Notes from the Senate hearing on Economics: September 20, 2007.

In today's hearing, representatives from the government panel that is defending the JPEPA refused to admit and even address specific and clear issues raised by the Magkaisa JUNK JPEPA Coalition as regards the basis of their rosy projections for the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Coalition hereby reiterates these points:

1. "The Japanese side provided studies of macroeconomic impact of JPEPA."

  • We expect a clear answer from the pro-JPEPA government panel. For such a comprehensive treaty that will partly define the future of the Filipino people, why did we not come up with our own studies? Should we just accept Erlinda Medalla's explanation during the hearing that "we don't have the money" to do the study? Surely, the future of this country deserves more than that kind of explanation. Or is it because our own studies predicted only a 0.09% increase in GDP versus the rosy Japanese prediction of 1.73%-3.03%?

  • On the same report, there is no mention of the paper by Dr. Caesar Cororaton entitled: Philippine-Japan Bilateral Agreements: Analysis of Possible Effects on Unemployment, Distribution, and Poverty in the Philippines using CGE-Microsimulation Approach.This paper is part of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement Research Project by our own Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). If this paper is not as accurate as Medalla explained during the hearings, shouldn't the Philippine negotiators have commissioned another study instead of simply adopting the results of the Japanese studies?

  • It is a fact that the JPEPA Joint Coordinating Team Report was released in December 2003. Dr. Cororaton's paper had its first complete draft on the same month. Yet, his paper was not at all cited in the JPEPA Joint Coordinating Team Report as one of the studies for which the JPEPA is based.

2. We also do not understand why Erlinda M. Medalla kept on attacking the reliability of Dr. Cororaton's conclusion that the JPEPA would negatively affect the agriculture sector (unemployment increases, wage decrease, contraction in the agriculture sector) and yet adopted what has been attributed as the Cororaton conclusion of a 0.09% increase in GDP if the Philippine Senate approves the JPEPA.
  • The Filipino public must also be informed that the figure of 0.09% does not appear in the entire paper of Dr. Caesar Cororaton. Erlinda Medalla admitted that the figure cannot be found on the paper and attempted to explain by saying something about her "getting the difference" between two things that were not at all clear to those present in the hearing.Why she would make conclusions of a paper that is not even hers was not explained. Why Dr. Cororaton himself has never appeared with Medalla in the Senate hearings is also unclear. Even if Medalla's conclusions would appear correct, this would not change the fact that page 7 of the JPEPA Joint Coordinating Team Report of 2003 states that only "the Japanese side provided studies of macroeconomic impact of JPEPA."
3. The DTI, through Thomas Aquino, has been giving inconsistent numbers as regards the JPEPA's contribution to job creation.

  • November 7, 2006 (before the Committees on Trade and Commerce, and Economic Affairs: 35, 477 jobs [2007-2016]
  • August 7, 2007 (before the LEDAC): 22, 120 jobs-744, 715 jobs
  • Today's hearing: 221,000 jobs

To the pro-JPEPA government panel: the Filipino people do not deserve "sketchy" and "fuzzy" explanations for a treaty that will partly define our future.

We deserve better.

Santiago sees "dead" JPEPA if gov't won't explain benefits. Veronica

The actual papers can also be downloaded from the following websites:
1. Joint Coordinating Team Report (December 2003)- here.
2. Kawasaki paper- here.
3. Cororaton paper- here.

If you wish to get copies of all the papers via email, pls send us a note at magkaisa.junkjpepa(at)gmail(dot)com.

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