22 February 2008, Quezon City. Various green groups laud Sen. Pia Cayetano and Sen. Jamby Madrigal for their stance to uphold what is good for the people and the environment as they reiterate their opposition to the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement(JPEPA).
“We find the recent statements on JPEPA by Sen. Cayetano and Sen. Madrigal very reassuring as we consider them as voices of Mother Nature in the Senate,” said Dr. Angelina Galang of the Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, adding that “the voting on JPEPA will be a grand revelation of who among the senators are true patriots who have the well-being of the people and country at heart and others whose mindsets contribute to the continued destruction of the environment.”
“We are at a point in the history of our country where we are searching for courageous women and men who would stand up for our ailing environment. Both senators have shown that they can lead this battle,” Beau Baconguis of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said. Atty. Mimi Sison of the Green Initiatives, Inc. agreed, saying that “these two women legislators are the true patriotic leaders that our country sorely needs.”
“Sen. Cayetano and Sen. Madrigal have shown their true color and happily for the country and our devastated environment, it is green. We hope all other senators, especially those who have trumpeted a green platform will likewise show their sincerity and the courage of their conviction, as Pia and Jamby have admirably done,” said Marie Marciano of the EcoWaste Coalition and Mother Earth Foundation.
For his part, Atty. Richard Gutierrez of the Basel Action Network-Asia Pacific said: “Their defiant no to JPEPA is a patriotic yes for the Filipinos and the environment. We laud their courage and foresight for making this stand.”
“We challenge the other senators to follow the lady senators’ lead,” they stated.
Environmental groups such as the Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Basel Action Network, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Convergence, Green Initiatives Inc., Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition, Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute, Health Care Without Harm, Kalikasan-PNE, Mother Earth Foundation, Mother Earth Philippines, Partido Kalikasan, Philippine Greens, and Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan have questioned the inclusion of a long list of toxic, hazardous and radioactive wastes and materials at zero tariff under JPEPA.
In an interview last Wednesday by the Senate media, Cayetano, who chairs the
committee on environment and natural resources, described JPEPA as “lousily negotiated,” criticizing negotiators for failing to assert and integrate measures that will safeguard the country’s environmental as well as trade interests.
“I feel strongly about the fact that there's a lot at stake, why didn't the negotiators think of that when they were negotiating it and ensure that we got the best out of it so we don't feel like being thrown some leftovers,’ Cayetano said.
Madrigal, in a statement circulated at the last Kamayan Forum on the environment, said that she will “not acquiesce to a treaty that undermines the sovereignty of the republic, sponsors the plunder of foreign and local exploiters, and the abuse and destruction of the environment.”