Green Groups Laud Sen. Villar’s Plan to Reject JPEPA over Toxic Waste Provisions

Quezon City- Environmental groups welcomed the position of Senate President Manny Villar to reject the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) over the
inclusion of toxic wastes in the mega-treaty.

“We are heartened by Sen. Villar’s public commitment that he won’t vote for the ratification of the JPEPA because of its toxic waste trade provisions. He is right in pointing out that there is no reason at all for these objectionable conditions to be in the treaty, if indeed Japan does not intend to dump their waste on us and the country won’t allow their importation, as both the Japanese and Philippine governments claim,” said Marie Marciano, President, Mother Earth Foundation, a member of the Magkaisa Junk JPEPA Coalition.

“The spectre of becoming the ‘toxic waste bin’ of Asia should be enough to wake up all right-minded senators from the stupor induced by the ‘let’s not miss the boat’ song. If they would only do their homework and take a real look at this boat, they will without a doubt realize that it’s headed towards an environmental and economic nightmare for the country and our people,” Marciano emphasized.

“Sen. Villar once said that ‘the Senate’s vote on the treaty will be based on the larger national interest.’ With the failure of the pro-JPEPA lobbyists to defend the benefits of JPEPA to our economy, environment and people, we expect Sen. Villar to keep his word and lead the Senate in upholding the national interest by junking JPEPA,” added Manny Calonzo, Secretary, EcoWaste Coalition.

On the issue of side agreement on toxic waste trade, Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, commented that “any side agreement on toxic waste trade will not work because neither Japan nor the Philippines has ratified the Basel Ban Amendment,” which prohibits the export of toxic wastes for disposal or recycling from rich to poor countries.

“We urge the Senate to work for and prioritize the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment as this will give our country added protection from the trade in toxic wastes disguised as recyclables that is currently allowed in the Basel Convention on hazardous wastes and in R.A. 6969,” Baconguis stated.

R.A. 6969 prohibits the entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the Philippines.

The Basel Action Network, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the EcoWaste Coalition, in a briefing paper given to Senators, warned that JPEPA establishes a robust incentive for waste merchants with the elimination of tariffs on a long list of toxic wastes, including globally controlled and banned substances.

“The Philippines is already struggling with the wastes it generates, and with widespread lack of information on the toxicity and environmentally safe management of its wastes,” observed the groups.

JPEPA, which has been waiting for Senate’s approval, has drawn the ire of environmental advocates in the Philippines and abroad for promoting and facilitating toxic waste dumping in the guise of free trade.

The detailed schedule of tradable wastes under JPEPA includes municipal waste, healthcare waste, ozone depleting substances, waste oils containing cancer-causing PCBs, incinerator ash and other extremely toxic compounds.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
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