October 9, 2008
By railroading JPEPA, Senate has compromised the country’s sovereignty and patrimony
Joint statement of NO DEAL! Movement and Bayan on the ratification of the JPEPA
Reference: Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, NO DEAL! convenor and Bayan chairperson
The NO DEAL! Movement and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) strongly condemn the Senate’s railroading of the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) on Wednesday night. Sixteen senators led by JPEPA’s sponsors Senators Miriam Santiago and Mar Roxas have compromised the country’s national patrimony and sovereignty by approving a patently one-sided, anti-Filipino economic treaty.
We are not surprised that the JPEPA has been approved while the rest of the country is not watching. This treaty has been negotiated by Malacanang and signed by Ms Gloria Arroyo in virtual secrecy. The undemocratic and non-transparent manner with which the deal has been conceived has resulted in a seriously flawed agreement that threatens to further destroy the jobs and livelihood of Filipino workers, farmers and fishers and further destroy local industries and stunt long-term economic development. The Senate hearings on the JPEPA have already exposed these defects of the agreement, as well as the questionable gains of the treaty such as the supposed increased access of Filipino nurses and health workers to Japan. The Senate hearings have also exposed the JPEPA as unconstitutional as it violates the provisions of the 1987 Constitution on foreign ownership and investment among others.
Yet despite these obvious defects of the JPEPA, 16 senators still gave in to the strong lobbying of Malacanang, the Japanese government, and Japanese businesses and only four senators heroically stood for the national and people’s interests. We laud patriotic Senators Jamby Madrigal, Chiz Escudero, Nene Pimentel and Noynoy Aquino for rejecting an agreement that will only result in further underdevelopment and increased poverty and marginalization in the country.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the senators of who voted for JPEPA’s ratification, some of whom have expressed presidential ambitions. This early, tinimbang sila ngunit kulang (they were weighed but found wanting). When the time came to test their mettle as political leaders, Senators Roxas, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda and Ping Lacson were definitely found lacking in nationalist credentials.
Today is a dark day for the country’s sovereignty and patrimony but we vow to continue our struggle against the JPEPA. We will use all available means - from mass protests to the Supreme Court - to stop its implementation.
We believe in economic cooperation among countries such as through bilateral trade and investment deals. But such cooperation must be founded on mutual respect and benefit. JPEPA has completely failed to meet these basic and non-negotiable requirements.
NO DEAL! Movement against unequal economic agreements is a coalition composed of the following: CONVENORS Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Fr. Rudy Abao, MSC Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran Rafael Mariano, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Nitz Gonzaga, Kilusang Mayo Uno Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Jossel Ebesate, R.N., Alliance of Health Workers Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Clemente Bautista Jr. Kalikasan People’s Network Rechielda Extremadura, Lila Filipina Arman Albarillo, Bayan-Southern Tagalog Roy Velez, Bayan-NCR Ed Cubelo, Toyoto workers union president Sonny Africa, Ibon Foundation Prof. Roland Simbulan, UP Arnold Padilla, spokesperson