Senate must reject JPEPA and ratify Basel Ban

Phil-Japan treaty toxic trade of the worst kind, Greenpeace says

Press release - October 25, 2006
Calling the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) toxic trade of the worst kind, Greenpeace urged the Philippine Senate today to completely reject the agreement and ratify the Basel Ban to prevent the country from being a legal dumping ground of Japan’s toxic waste.

"This kind of legal toxic dumping is utterly unjust and its signing by the Philippine and Japanese governments is nothing short of criminal." said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns director Von Hernandez. "Where is the dignity in this lopsided agreement? We may be a poor country but we cannot be this desperate."

The JPEPA unashamedly allows an unprecedented list of hazardous wastes, even those meant only for disposal, to be exported to the Philippines. The list includes a very broad range of toxic materials whose entry to the country are prohibited or regulated by the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources).

Greenpeace is asking for the Senate to intervene and reject JPEPA which, while being an executive agreement, has impacts on multi- and bilateral treaties to which the Philippines is signatory.

The Senate must also immediately ratify the Basel Ban, an amendment to the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes (Basel Convention), which prevents all hazardous waste trade, even those in the guise of recycling.

The Basel Convention, adopted in 1989, is a legally-binding global commitment which was intended to stop all hazardous waste exports from industrialized countries to developing countries. However, it allows the export of hazardous wastes meant for recycling. This loophole was addressed by the Basel Ban, an important amendment to the Basel Convention, which disallows trade of wastes meant for recycling.

The Philippines and Japan are signatories to the Basel Convention, but both have not ratified the Basel Ban. Ratification of the Basel Ban would protect the Philippines from hazardous waste dumping by industrialized countries.

Greenpeace said the Philippine government should also review Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, which, since it is based on the Basel Convention and not on the Basel Ban, carries the inherent loophole of the Convention. It therefore allows the entry of toxic waste into the country for recycling purposes.

"The Philippines is already a recipient of hazardous waste from other countries, under the guise of recycling. JPEPA, which is only the first of many bilateral agreements that our government is studying, will open the floodgates to waste dumping from all over the world," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis.

"Hazardous waste exports-whether for recycling or for final disposal-is totally unacceptable. Japan's predatory stance in this issue shows shades of toxic imperialism. This toxic trade agreement must be rescinded," Hernandez added.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace Southeast Asia has been working on the issue of toxic waste trade in the Philippines for more than a decade, and, with the EcoWaste Coalition, has lobbied for the rejection of the Philippines-Japan trade agreement since last year.