Tañada hopes Roxas will give up supporting JPEPA

Published online in the January 22, 2008 edition of GMANews.TV

Former senator Wigberto Tañada on Tuesday said he was hoping that Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas would still change his position supporting the ratification of the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Tañada, convenor of the Fair Trade Alliance, said that what the Filipinos wanted “is a win-win situation,” and not a tablo-talo or tie-lose scenario, which Roxas said would be the likely effect of nodding to JPEPA.

Earlier, Roxas reportedly said that while the Philippines would have little or no gain in ratifying JPEPA, the country would be left behind if it won’t approve the agreement.

“Sen. Roxas…was able to see the economic balances in the treaty and the serious constitutional flaws, and that it was inferior to the agreements entered into by Japan with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The Filipino people cannot accept a tablo-talo scenario. What we want is a win-win situation, a mutually beneficial economic partnership,” Tañada said.

Tañada said that while partnership with other countries was “inevitable under a more globalized economic setting,” the Philippines “must be cautious about entering into these trade arrangements so that in the end it will truly serve and support the national development agenda of the country.”

The former senator’s group also belied claims that JPEPA would make international markets further open up to Philippine products.

“In fact as of now close to 90 percent of Philippine exports to Japan are already enjoying duty-free access to Japan, whether there is JPEPA or not. On the other hand, local industries will suffer because JPEPA allows the entry of used clothing (ukay-ukay) and second-hand vehicles to the Philippines,” said Tañada.

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