Greenpeace Statement on the Ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement by the Philippine Senate

Press release - October 9, 2008
Close to midnight Wednesday, 8 October 2008, before Congress went on recess, the Philippine Senate ratified the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) voting 16-4.

Environmental health and justice activists satirized the famed flag-raising during the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II to mark the first Global Day of Action against Japanese Waste Colonialism initiated by environmental and civil society groups, which coincided with the observance of Japan’s Constitution Day.

Beau Baconguis, Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Southeast Asia in the

Philippines said:

"The sneaky and seemingly last-minute maneuvering to have the JPEPA ratified by the Senate betrays the unbearable shame that senators must have faced when they voted for the treaty.  It is deplorable that despite the inability of treaty proponents to explain how provisions in the JPEPA which are detrimental to the interest of Filipinos could be corrected, the JPEPA pushers blindly plowed ahead, unmindful of the profound consequences that the treaty would have on the lives of Filipinos.

"With the treaty ratified, there is now an even bigger incentive for Japanese hazardous waste generators and traders to ship their dangerous materials to the Philippines so long as an economic justification for 'recycling' these toxic substances could be made. When you recycle a hazard, you will always be left with a hazard, and JPEPA's ratification has just reinforced and provided additional institutional incentive to promote this practice.  In the end, Filipino communities and workers in dirty 'recycling' or waste processing facilities will be the ones who will bear the brunt of toxics pollution and contamination caused by what essentially is a case of hazardous waste dumping from a rich to a poor country.

"It is imperative that the Philippine government now act swiftly to ratify the Amendment to the Basel Convention which would categorically prevent the dumping of toxic and hazardous waste from richer to poorer countries under the guise of recycling, a dastardly practice that has been reinforced with the Senate's ratification of the JPEPA.

"We commend the four senators, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Sen. Noynoy Aquino, Sen. Jamby Madrigal, and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel for standing up for the environment and for the Filipino people by voting against the JPEPA."

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 871 5257 Lea Guerrero, Media Officer, +63 920 950 6877