Business Mirror | Sunday, 05 July 2009
NGO writes PM Aso to halt Japan biodiesel project
Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Correspondent
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has formally asked the Japanese government to stop the 600,000-hectare biodiesel project of the Pacific Bio-Diesel Corp. in the Philippines.
The group wrote Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso asking to cancel the agreement between the Philippine government and the United Kingdom-based Japanese firm.
In his two-page letter of appeal to the prime minister, Pamalakaya national chairman Fernando Hicap said the project is “extremely anti-Filipino” because of the project’s exploitative and extremely destructive character.
Pacific wants to put up coconut plantations in the Philippines for the production of biodiesel.
According to the agreement, the Japanese biodiesel company and its local partner in Manila will ship the biodiesel products to Japan for the consumption of the Japanese public.
Hicap said the deal between the Philippines and Pacific is inimical to the interest of the Filipino people, particularly to landless farmers and fisher folk. He blamed the Philippine government’s continuing policy of leasing and selling domestic lands to foreign corporations “at the expense of agrarian justice and genuine land reform.”
According to Hicap, seven out of 10 farmers and rural people remain landless.
“If the Japanese government will subscribe to this modern-day land-grabbing and plunder, it would become a major partner in crime of the Philippine government in violating the patrimonial and sovereign rights of the Filipino people,” Hicap said.
In the letter, Hicap said the deal between the Philippines and Pacific was clinched shortly after the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) by the Philippine Senate last year.
“Prior to the Philippine ratification, the Japanese Diet ratified the agreement without considering its impact on the Philippine economy and the Filipino people,” it said.
Hicap said the public believes the 600,000- hectare biodiesel deal between the Philippines and Japan is the Jpepa in action.
Although Japan will lease it for 25 years and could renew it for 25 years, Hicap said “that is virtual land-grabbing and land ownership because 50 years up to 75 years already constitute a lifespan.”
“In exchange for 400 nursing and caregiving jobs in Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted the corporate exploitation of 600,000 hectares of Philippine agricultural lands to foreign groups identified with and serving at the pleasure of Japanese carmakers. The Filipino people cannot stomach this kind of across-the-nation betrayal of national interest,” said Pamalakaya.
“To correct this social injustice, Honorable Prime Minister, again we reiterate our appeal to your honorable office to immediately and effectively cancel the biodiesel agreement between the Pacific and the Philippine government,” Hicap added.
Hicap told the prime minister that he is bestowed with powers to stop and revoke all agreements with foreign states that are deemed exploitative, immoral, unlawful and contrary to the national interest and collective sentiment of another country.
The group also asked Aso to direct the Japanese Diet composed of the 480 members of the House of Representatives and 242 members of House of Councilors to immediately review the Jpepa and the sooner the better, work double or triple time for the immediate abrogation of the Jpepa, which for the Filipino people, “the group asserted, is nothing but an economic nightmare.”