Fishers’ Group to Spearhead ‘JPEPA-Free Zone’ Campaign

The group said the fishing aspect of JPEPA is meant for the benefit and survival of Japan’s commercial fishing to the detriment of Filipino tuna producers.

With the increase in the supply of tuna produced by Japanese factory ships and their shipment to Japan and other countries, the local tuna producers and small tuna fishermen would be at their mercy by way of depressed prices, or worse, when tuna stocks in Philippine EEZ are depleted, it could lead to supply constraints and closure of local tuna processing plants, the murder of the P18-billion ($407,009,609) local tuna industry and the massacre of jobs and source of livelihood of some 180,000 tuna fishermen and fish workers.

Economic slavery

No Deal! JPEPA spokesperson Arnold Padilla last week informed Pamalakaya and other members of the anti-JPEPA coalition that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago would push for the ratification of the JPEPA this week, adding that patriots, activists and nationalists should further intensify pressure to convince senators to vote against JPEPA.

“On Monday (Aug. 3 – Ed.), leaders of anti-JPEPA movement will make their presence felt in the Senate so that the senators would know that we are watching the outcome of this latest attempt of Japan to re-colonize the Philippines through economic slavery,” Padilla said in a text message sent to Bulatlat.

The No Deal! JPEPA spokesman said a number of activities have been lined up this week and in the coming weeks, but he did not elaborate what these are and when these activities will be staged.

Santiago, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations told reporters covering the Senate beat last week that she will endorse JPEPA for concurrence by the plenary, even if Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura had “refused to accede” to her request for a detailed side agreement.

Santiago said that instead of a detailed side agreement, the Japanese Ambassador to Manila prefers to include a general provision in the treaty that would state that the RP-Japan bilateral agreement would conform with the 1987 Constitution.

The NO DEAL! said Katsura’s “general statement” is even worse because it practically takes away any concrete obligation on Japan to respect specific provisions of the charter.

Padilla said, “Even if Japan issues a “general” commitment to abide by the 1987 Constitution as proposed by Katsura, the unconstitutional terms in the JPEPA remain and Japan has the right under international laws to question the Philippines’ non-compliance in the treaty even if it is based on constitutional grounds.”

The group said that this latest development in the JPEPA negotiations further proves that the treaty is indefensible and that senators must issue a categorical rejection of the JPEPA to protect the national and the Filipino people’s interest. Contributed to (Bulatlat.com)

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