In a statement, the Congress of Teachers for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND), called JPEPA as ‘a bankrupt free market solution.’
“If there is one significant lesson that we must learn from the Wall Street meltdown, it is the fact that our fraught economic conditions will never be solved by the so-called free market solution,” said CONTEND.
The group said, “JPEPA is no different from the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement rammed through the stomachs of the laboring Filipino masses by US imperialism.”
The Philippines became a member of the WTO in 1994. “Fourteen years after that fatal blow on our sovereignty and dignity as a people, we already know better than upping the ante for yet another project of imperialist plunder. At stake in our fight against JPEPA is the protection and preservation of our natural resources and our environment, the defense against the exploitation and oppression of human labor against the Arroyo regime’s pimping of Filipino nurses, caregivers and skilled workers, the rightful claim of indigenous peoples to their ancestral domains, of farmers and workers to the dignity of labor, and the fortification of our citizenship as Filipinos against bilateral measures that intensify the barbaric nature of neocolonialism,” said CONTEND.
Moreover, Padilla said that JPEPA would set the precedent for more unequal economic agreements for the Philippines. He cited the upcoming negotiations between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) on their Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) as part the EU-ASEAN negotiation process for a free trade agreement (FTA). Padilla maintained, “Certainly, the EU will use the JPEPA as yardstick for trade and investment concessions it will seek from the Philippines in the PCA. The problem is that the country has already surrendered much of its patrimony and economic sovereignty to the Japanese in the JPEPA such as on unrestricted foreign ownership and investment. The Europeans will ask for more, and then the Americans when they negotiate their own FTA with us. What else will be left for the country?”
In its submitted position paper to the Senate, the HEAD had also warned that JPEPA would set a dangerous precedent for its anti-migrant worker provisions, which may be used by other countries who need Filipino health personnel.
Padilla said they will question the treaty’s constitutionality by filing a petition before the Supreme Court.
Legal experts have pointed out that the JPEPA’s terms on national treatment, most favored nation (MFN), and prohibition of performance requirements violate several provisions of the 1987 Constitution. (Bulatlat.com)