Youth Green Warriors Tell Japan: Philippines is Not a Free Waste Trade Zone

9 November 2006, Pasay City. Youth green warriors from the Ecowaste Coalition dramatize in front of the Japanese Embassy and the Philippine Senate what they view as devastating “waste colonialism” if the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is ratified and implemented. The “toxic accord” would decriminalize the dumping of toxic wastes forbidden by the country’s environmental laws. The Ecowaste Coalition and other concerned groups are calling both the Japanese Diet and the Philippine Senate to reject the agreement. The creative protest event was held to mark the second month of the signing of JPEPA by Pres. Gloria Arroyo and then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on 9 September 2006.

“Where is the logic and sanity in opening the country’s doors to a long list of extremely toxic wastes from outside, when we know very well that we have yet to succeed in handling our own?,” asked the Ecowaste Coalition in a statement, reiterating that “we strongly object this ugly form of modern colonialism through the liberalization of trade in toxic wastes.”

“Tambakan na lang ba tayo ng basura? Hindi pa ba sapat na problema ang mga iligal na tambakan na hindi maipasara-sara?” For the millions of Juan and Juana de la Cruzes, that is the question. Already our environment is visibly deteriorating from the effects of our own mismanaged municipal, medical and hazardous discards. Are our policy makers blind to this?

The Ecowaste Coalition, a participating group of the Magkaisa Junk JPEPA coalition, cites the following facts to support its stance against any form of waste dumping, be it by Filipinos, Japanese or other nationals:

Annually, 8.4 million tons of wastes are generated by 85 million Filipinos. In Metro Manila alone, 85% of the trash generated daily end up in storm drains, creeks, rivers and the Manila Bay.

Nearly 2.5 million tons of hazardous wastes are generated by agricultural, commercial, industrial and even household activities. Out of some 280,000 tons of hazardous wastes produced by registered industrial waste generators, 50 percent is recycled or treated on-site, 13 percent is managed by haulers/treaters, and the remaining 37 percent is stored on-site and off-site or illegally dumped elsewhere.

Our local hospitals, clinics and other generators of infectious wastes are still scrambling to cope with the requirements of the law on the proper treatment and disposal of medical waste. Much of it still ends up in open dumps.

Despite a law that has made dumping illegal, the National Solid Waste Management Commission and local authorities have miserably failed to shut down over 1,000 dumps all over the country.
Our laws disallow and penalize waste burning and incineration to protect us and our children from hazardous emissions and ashes. Why then allow Japan to dump incineration ash and residues in the Philippines?

The Ecowaste Coalition and many other groups pursuing ecological solutions to the waste crisis are wary that JPEPA will only exacerbate toxics in our environment, and undermine efforts to shut down the illegal dumps that continue to contaminate our fragile ecosystems.

Hindi natin kailangan ng dagdag na basura at tambakan na lalason sa pagkain, hangin, tubig, at kalugugan ng sambayanan. Ang kailangan natin ay puspusang pagtatanggol sa kagalingan ng tao’t kalikasan.

By this treaty, our policymakers would have the Philippines virtually welcoming a second Japanese invasion in the form of poisonous waste. This whole agreement should be stamped with the symbol of the skull and crossbones, and rejected by the Philippine Senate and the entire Filipino nation.

The Ecowaste Coalition, a participating group of the “Magkaisa Junk JPEPA” coalition, reiterates its strong objection against the liberalization of trade in toxic wastes under JPEPA.

For more information, please contact us at ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com or (02) 9290376.