Joint statement of NO DEAL! Movement and Bayan on the ratification of the JPEPA
October 9, 2008
Reference: Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, NO DEAL! convenor and Bayan chairpersonThe 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