on JPEPA (10/23/07)

PRESS RELEASE                                                                          

23 October 2007                                                                               

 

TAÑADA ON JPEPA:  “SORRY, WRONG COPY EXCUSE UNFORGIVABLE!”


      Rep. Lorenzo R. Tanada III (LP, 4th District, Quezon), Vice Chair of the Special Committee on WTO and Globalization, criticized the DTI for using the “sorry…wrong copy” excuse to rationalize why international trade law expert Justice Feliciano might make adjustments on his comments on JPEPA especially when it comes to constitutional issues – land ownership and the right to exploit marine resources.


     “It was already exasperating when during the last Congress, even our efforts in the Special Committee on Globalization did not yield any copy of the JPEPA document which we repeatedly asked the Executive to provide.” Tañada said.

 

     “It is indeed further baffling and utterly frustrating that even the consultant that was tapped to give supposedly studied comments on JPEPA does not have access to the real deal!  How then can we expect people to intelligently participate in the discussion?  Are they sure they gave the Senators the right copy now?” Tañada asked.


     “I think it is high time that government renegotiate JPEPA, but this time putting stakeholders on board early in the discussion.  I understand that the earlier consultations done, if ever there were any, were merely patches and not comprehensive.  In other words, a stakeholder is only given a portion of the JPEPA text that is limited and confined to his industry.  But in order to intelligently comment, one should be able to see the entire forest and not just the trees.  The worst thing though is to be told – oh sorry…wrong forest!”  Tañada said.


     Tañada is the principal author of a bill that creates the Philippine Trade Representative Office as well as the Freedom of Information Act.  A common thread in those bills is the right of people to have access to the RIGHT information on matters of public concern.

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