Friday, October 26, 2007

JPEPA: Gross Violation of the Constitution

1. The JPEPA was based on the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement. Literally employing the "cut-and-paste" method, the Philippine negotiators bargained away the future of the Filipino people in exchange for speculative gains. Page 71 of the Working Draft of the JPEPA still contains the word Singapore in one of the provisions.

Consistent with this government's inability to hide its crimes with sophistication, the draft is posted on a government website . Lower right hand corner: entitled JPEPA.

Until today, the government wants us to believe that there is nothing in the JPEPA that allows for the importation of toxic and hazardous wastes.

However, they failed to explain during the Senate hearing why items FIT ONLY FOR DISPOSAL remain in the list of Originating Goods. Are these not wastes?

DTI now pressures the DENR to defend the position of the government despite the fact that from the very start, DENR was opposed to the inclusion of these wastes in the Philippines' list of tradeable goods.

Items FIT ONLY FOR DISPOSAL were also explicitly striken out from the 2003 Working Draft of the JPEPA (pages 16-17 found below).

3. DTI also attempts to explain the inclusion of these wastes by saying that they HAD TO INCLUDE them because of the Harmonised System.

However, aside from violating national laws and the Basel Convention by the inclusion of said wastes, DTI commits another flagrant mistake: they did not only copy the existing rates as established by the Harmonised System, they also reduced most of the rates to zero. This is an additional proof of the intent to allow toxic trade; an additional economic incentive to allow the entry of toxic and hazardous wastes into the Philippines.

4. Because of the public outrage, the Executive Branch attempts to shut the Filipino up by coming up with their much-publicized May 23, 2007 side notes. This is a 2-page document that does not create an obligation but merely maintains status quo. It will not eliminate specific commitments found in the text of the JPEPA itself. The Executive Branch's legally absurd and belated defense is betrayed by the issuance of these side notes. After all, if indeed they believe that there is nothing in the JPEPA that allows for the entry of wastes, these sides notes are not really necessary after all. It is more logical that these side notes were issued in order to silence the Filipino people.

However, despite serious violations of national laws and the Constitution, the Executive Branch remains confident that the Senate will approve the JPEPA. Despite its successive failure to defend the treaty on the Senate floor, the Executive Branch believes that the JPEPA will be approved.

We, the Filipino people, must now ask: WHY?

What will the Executive Branch use to convince the Senators of the Republic of the Philippines to vote for the JPEPA?

The world is watching the Philippines and the Philippine Senate.

Will we allow ourselves to be the laughingstock of the world?

The country that was threatened by its own Executive Department that it will miss the boat if the JPEPA is not signed?

The country whose Senators, its lawmakers, the representatives of the Filipino people, could not even cast a vote to defend national laws and the Constitution?

Perhaps the Executive Branch has forgotten that at the end of the day, the Senators of the Republic of the Philippines are representatives of the Filipino people.


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