Independent think-tankasks Sen. Miriam Santiago why she is more concerned over earning the ire of Japan if the country fails to ratify the Japan-Philippines (JPEPA) than the damaging consequences the pact is likely to bring the economy.
Santiago , who chairs the foreign relations committee, filed a committee report endorsing conditional concurrence which requires Japan to comply with at least 15 specified constitutional provisions to avoid a no-approval vote.
But according to IBON research head Sonny Africa, “Asking for a conditional concurrence from Japan is foolish because these questionable provisions in JPEPA are precisely the ones Japan wants included in order to gain maximum advantage for its corporations.”
These unconstitutional provisions include the “national treatment” clause that gives Japanese investors the same rights as local entrepreneurs; and the lifting of performance requirements that would have required Japanese investors to use a certain level of local content in their production and the hiring of a certain number of local workers.
Africa added that JPEPA’s proponents in the Senate themselves admit that the problem with the pact is that the advantages “were in favor of Japan but not necessarily the Philippines ”.
“The proposal of conditional concurrence highlights the unconstitutionality of JPEPA, and no amount of modification can make the deal beneficial for Filipinos,” he said.
“We should not be afraid of earning the ire of Japan but rather demonstrate that the Philippines is not afraid of rejecting bad trade deals that don’t promote its.” (end)
IBON is a convenor of No Deal! Movement Against Unequal Economic Agreements.