A Call for the Senate to Reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
Whereas the Philippine Constitution is the highest law of the land and no law, treaty or other instrumentality should contradict or subvert it,
Whereas the Constitution holds paramount the social, economic, political, and environmental interests of the Filipino people,
Whereas treaties should be reciprocal, economically beneficial, and fair,
Whereas JPEPA violates our Constitution by:
– allowing Japanese investors to own Philippine private land for ventures other than those in the manufacturing and services sector;
– allowing Japan to fish in our waters; an activity reserved solely for Filipino citizens.
Whereas JPEPA forces the Philippines to surrender several rights; an act which our ASEAN neighbors refused to do in relation to their agreements with Japan. As a result, the Philippines can no longer require Japanese firms to transfer technology, hire Filipino workers, and appoint Filipino managers and executives, even if equally qualified.
Whereas the manner by which Philippine commitments were arrived at was itself unconstitutional:
– The Executive Branch, on its own and without a law from Congress, unilaterally eliminated the tariffs of several goods.
Whereas JPEPA violates Philippine laws, specifically:
– RA 6969 which prohibits the importation of hazardous and nuclear wastes
– The Local Government Code because it takes away from local governments the power to enact local legislations in the future which will be inconsistent with the Philippine commitments to extend national treatment and most favoured nation treatment to Japan.
Whereas JPEPA further threatens Philippine sovereignty because:
– it precludes the enactment by Congress of future laws that will be inconsistent with the Philippines’ JPEPA obligation to extend national treatment to Japanese investors
– it calls for changing present laws to be consistent with JPEPA, e.g. the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management and the Toxic and Hazardous Waste Act in order to accommodate toxic waste importation,
Whereas JPEPA is extremely lopsided in its economic and other provisions:
– it allows the Japanese to exclude and thus protect 651 of its products, i.e., they are not committed to further lower the existing tariffs for the entry of these Philippine products to Japan; while the Philippines protected only 6 products
Whereas JPEPA could have been more balanced; their treaties with Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore were more protective of their nations’ interests,
Whereas “conditional concurrence” by the Senate with side agreements by respective government agencies, in order to correct the infirmities of JPEPA, is treading on dangerous waters as has been shown by precedents in the arena of international treaties;
Now therefore, we, the undersigned ask the Senate to fulfill its role as check and balance to the Executive branch of government, to do right by the Filipino people and reject this infirm, lopsided, unlawful and unconstitutional treaty. In its present form, the Senate must REJECT JPEPA.