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Farmers picket Japanese embassy over economic pact


Farmers picket Japanese embassy over economic pact

By Veronica Uy

ABOUT 20 farmers picketed outside the Japanese embassy Friday to protest the Japanese-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Willy Marbella of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines, KMP), called for the trashing of the agreement, saying it will adversely affect the farmers.

“If this agreement is enforced, then it would mean massive displacement of farmers and other rural folks from their land so that it would be converted into dumpsites. Even the seas may be made repositories of these wastes if we go by the JPEPA,” he said.

Marbella said he could not accept the Department of Trade and Industry’s explanation that local laws would stop the dumping of toxic wastes here, as provided in the JPEPA.

“If we do not honor the agreement then we can be charged at the World Trade Organization. If a country signs an agreement even if it has laws against its provisions, then its negotiators are not doing their job or are selling the country’s interests. Simply put why sign a document that would be bad for you,” asked the peasant leader.

Marbella said his group was also asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately trash this agreement.