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International researcher hits Japanese aid to RP

Sun Star, Dumaguete, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

International researcher hits Japanese aid to RP

By Edmund Sestoso

CANLAON CITY, Negros Oriental — A visiting Japanese researcher accused her own government of extending international aid that runs counter to the interest of the Filipinos.

Kayoko Teshigawara, a nurse, is in Canlaon City to research on the medical and health delivery situations in strategic areas of Negros Oriental.

Kayoko cited the Official Development Assistance (ODA) whose intention, she said, was not to help but to gain manifold profits.

An example, she noted, are funding for infrastructure projects like roads and bridges where the contractors and technical consultants are Japanese.

"In effect, the money that they put in a so-called project will return back in the form of private firms working in the country instead of the Filipino people," the Japanese nurse said.

Kayoko’s observation came after members of the House of Representatives petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the government from finalizing an economic agreement with Japan, allegedly to contain some provisions that would allow the country to trade its hazardous and toxic waste products.

Lawyer Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, counsel for Akbayan partylist groups, and several congressmen had claimed that the government was jeopardizing the health and safety of the public by allegedly refusing to disclose the contents of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

They also hit the Department of Trade and Industry for allegedly resorting to legal gymnastics to avoid revealing the terms of the bilateral agreement.

"Up to the present time, Thomas G. Aquino, chairman and chief delegate of the Philippine Coordinating Committee for JPEPA, has continuously refused to furnish petitioners with a copy of the full text of the JPEPA," Gutierrez said.

The other petitioners are Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Akbayan Representatives Mayong Aguja, Etta Rosales, and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Cibac Representative Joel Villanueva and Representative Erin Tañada of Quezon, as well members of the farm and labor sectors.

JPEPA was drafted during a meeting in Tokyo between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Japanese when she visited Japan last December.

It is a proposed "partnership" that would include possible free trade agreements and other components covering services, investment, human resources development, and other forms of cooperation.

Kayoko is in the Philippines to research on the impact of the migration of Filipino nurses and doctors to other countries and its effects on the present health delivery system in the country.

She said she has visited Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital and talked to its chief Ely Villapando.

The researcher also visited the about-to-close district hospitals in the towns of Mabinay and Bindoy.

(March 26, 2006 issue)

 source: Sun Star