Following is a unity statement I signed against JPEPA. For more info, read this primer on the unjust agreement.
An appeal to the Senate to reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
We, the undersigned individuals and organizations call on our Senators to uphold national interest and reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA.
After several public hearings in the Senate, we have yet to see credible studies to back up the fantastic claims of the Arroyo administration that the JPEPA will result in economic prosperity for the Filipino people. Rather than economic growth, the agreement is poised to further damage the already crisis-ridden Philippine economy.
We believe that the agreement is grossly lopsided in favor of Japan. The provisions of JPEPA will further reinforce the historically unequal economic relations between our countries. For example, while removing tariffs for all but two Philippine products (salt and rice), Japan will continue to protect 239 of its own products.
Japan will also gain unhampered access to our nation’s wealth, including our human resources, at the expense of the Filipino people.
* Job losses are foreseen in the manufacturing and automobile sectors
* Farmers and agricultural workers stand to suffer even more from contract-growing arrangements with transnational agri-business corporations. Land use conversion will also affect domestic food production.
* Domestic fisheries sector will have no protection from the entry of Japanese fishing vessels which will be allowed to fish in our waters.
* The claim that the Philippines will benefit from the agreement via the entry of more Filipino nurses and caregivers to Japan is misleading since the professional standards imposed by Japan are very difficult to achieve. The continued export of nurses and caregivers also betrays a lack of political will on the part of the Philippine government to provide domestic employment for its own people.
The JPEPA will not industrialize the Philippine economy because provisions in the agreement limit or do not require technology transfer, local content in products as well as the hiring of Filipinos. On the other hand, special privileges will be given to Japanese investors to the extent of undermining whatever little is left of the country’s sovereignty and patrimony. This includes requiring the Philippine government to virtually insure Japanese firms from any damages that may result from civil unrest.
The JPEPA accords Japan a Most Favored Nation status and gives National Treatment to Japanese investors. Such provisions set a dangerous precedent for bilateral trade agreements with other countries. Surely, other countries would seek the same treatment as Japan, thereby further exposing the Philippine economy to plunder by other imperialist powers and foreign multinationals.
The JPEPA is tantamount to a second “Japanese Invasion” of the Philippines, this time in the sphere of economics. For our own survival, we say “No deal!” with the Japanese government.
Uphold national interest! REJECT JPEPA!