Friday, March 28, 2008

NGO hits Roxas, Santiago for endorsing JPEPA

From GMA News:

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - A Mindanao-based coalition of non-government organizations has criticized senators Manuel Roxas II and Miriam Defensor-Santiago for recommending the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Members of the Mindanao Ayaw sa JPEPA Coalition oppose the proposed Japan-RP treaty which they consider as flawed and unfair.

Under economic treaty, Japanese multinational corporations are given full right to invest in crop production, fishery, mining and the power sector, said Abby Pato of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation of the Philippines, a member of the coalition.

He said that such arrangement would have great impact on the livelihood of small farmers and fisher folk in Mindanao.

The coalition is urging the Davao City council to pass a resolution supporting moves against the JPEPA.

At a city council hearing, the group asked councilor and Trade Committee Chair Pete LaviƱa to conduct an investigation on the impact of JPEPA on the Mindanao economy, Pato said.

He said that the proposed trade pact might have disastrous impact not only on food security but also on Mindanaoans' access to and use of land, water, seed and other productive resources.

Under the JPEPA, huge tracks of land would be put under the control of transnational and agro-business ventures, he added.

Pato feared that the increasing global demand for bananas would further fuel the expansion of banana plantations which encourage widespread use of pesticides that are hazardous to people and environment.

JPEPA could displace small producers and fish workers in the tuna industry with the onslaught of Japanese firms, he said.

He added that JPEPA might also pose health hazards as dumping of Japan's toxic waste in the country (in the guise of recyclable or with recyclable content) would be allowed. - GMANews.TV

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