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?!!