Asean-Japan FTA

From my daily readings of on-line news, I am a bit surprised that none of our Senators who are about to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) ever talked about the recent signing of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA).

The latter was signed last April 14 and is the third free trade agreement of the 10-nation bloc with its northern neighbors. The first two were with China and South Korea.

What are the implications of this multilateral agreement with that of our bilateral JPEPA. This to me is a very crucial consideration.

I believe that the Senate should not rush in acting on the JPEPA until after we study the pros and cons of AJCEPA.

This was one of the major premises that prompted the City Council to pass two Resolutions last Tuesday –  the first calling on the Senate to hold in abeyance its action on the JPEPA, and second, for the Executive Department to recall JPEPA from the Senate for further study and/or renegotiation in the light of AJCEPA.

Our other premises were anchored on the many opposition to the JPEPA, particularly the secrecy of its negotiation, unconstitutional provisions, unequal terms and adverse human and environmental impacts.

In my sponsorship speech, I also raised doubt about the proposal of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for a “conditional concurrence” of the treaty.

A conditional ratification only proves that something is wrong with the trade pact. Why not then outrightly reject it or send it back for renegotiation?!!

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ICT Week

It’s a busy ICT Week in Davao City.

The 6th Mindanao ICT Conference opened yesterday at the NCCC Mall. I’m joining one track today as panelist on new media and information exchange.

The week started last Sunday with the e-lympic internet games at SM Mall hosted by the Internet Cafe Association of Davao. It would end on Saturday with the 1st Mindanao Bloggers Summit.

The week-long activities also include the 1st BIMP-EAGA ICT Conference which coincides with the Senior Ministers Conference of this ASEAN sub-region comprising Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Also in town are trade delegations from Darwin, Australia and Taiwan, who are likewise participating at the Davao Trade Expo (DATE 2007), the city’s biggest trade exhibit.

Kudos to the organizers led by ICT Davao Inc. and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Last year, I led the Davao City delegation at the 5th Mindanao ICT Conference at Cagayan de Oro to bid in hosting this year’s event.