AKBAYAN Rep. Mayong Aguja

Akbayan solon disappointed with signing of the JPEPA

Posted by tin on September 12, 2006

Akbayan solon disappointed with signing of the JPEPA

“With the JPEPA already signed, the Supreme Court nor Congress cannot do anything about the irreversible effects of the agreement.” laments Akbayan Representative Mayong Aguja on the signing of the JPEPA in Helsinki last Sunday. “We were given the copies of the JPEPA only yesterday after the agreement has already been signed.” Cong. Aguja has been asking for a copy of the JPEPA from the Department of Trade and Industry in budget and committee hearings since last year. Last Thursday, the Committee on Appropriations recalled the approved 2007 budget of the DTI for failing to provide the Committee with the full text of the JPEPA it has promised to deliver the next day. The copy of the JPEPA reached Congress only yesterday.

 “The secrecy with which the Philippine Government has conducted the JPEPA negotiations violated the right of the people to effective and reasonable participation in economic decision-making, and their right to due process.”, said Aguja.

 With the government’s hardline stance against full public disclosure of the full contents of the agreement, Cong. Aguja together with fellow Akbayan Reps, Etta Rosales and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Quezon Rep Erin Tanada, CIBAC Rep Joel Villanueva, Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party,  Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), as well as individuals from the labor and peasant sectors, filed a petition before the Supreme Court against the signing of the JPEPA until meaningful consultation has been conducted with the Filipino people.

 The negotiation of international trade treaties such as the JPEPA should be a collaborative undertaking of both the executive and legislative branches working as co-equals, with the active involvement of the Filipino people. “The non-involvement of the Filipino people in the JPEPA negotiation process effectively results in the bargaining away of their economic and property rights without their knowledge and participation, in violation of the due process clause under the Constitution.” Aguja added. “With the JPEPA already signed, we are all bound by the stipulations of the agreement. Even our objections will no longer be heard.” said Aguja.

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