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Reject JPEPA, leaders of 66 NGOs appeal

Philippine Daily Inquirer | 08/13/2008

Reject JPEPA, leaders of 66 NGOs appeal

TJ Burgonio

MANILA, Philippines-A country that is grappling with tons of garbage every day can’t be made a dumping ground of toxic wastes, non-government organizations said in an appeal to the Senate not to ratify the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.

In a letter to Senate President Manuel Villar, 66 NGO leaders from around the world joined calls from local NGOs urging the Senate not to approve what they describe as a “flawed treaty” that promotes trade of toxic wastes.

“We trust that the Philippine Senate... be proactive in protecting the Filipino people and the environment from chemical trespassing through toxic waste trade,” said Marian Lloyd-Smith, co-chair of the International Persistent Organic Elimination Network (IPEN) in a statement e-mailed by the EcoWaste Coalition.

The NGO leaders said the Philippines was already struggling with the “wastes it generates” and with the lack of information on the toxicity and environmentally safe management of the wastes.

This situation would get worse if the Senate ratifies the treaty, said the NGO leaders who faxed the letter from Trivanduum, India where they are attending a conference on chemical safety

They said the inclusion of toxic materials and wastes for zero tariff elimination, including persistent organic pollutant wastes, nuclear wastes, ozone depleting substances, among others, was an “unambiguous indicator that trade in toxic wastes is promoted under the pact.”

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said last week that the passage of the trade and cooperation agreement with Japan was “virtually assured,” noting that the chamber was just one vote shy of the 15 needed to ratify it.

The signatories of the letter included leaders from Ipen, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

 source: PDI