Press Release
November 11, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas called on the executive branch to get its act together in providing the Senate with sufficient information on the clear benefits and potential drawbacks that the country would face in relation to the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

"The Senate is not in the business of data-extraction. That is the job of the executive branch and it makes us wonder how come baseline data regarding tariff lines and well-defined programs for safety nets are not being properly presented in all of five hearings," Roxas said.

The chair of the Senate trade committee said his office is working on a checklist or what he described as a "bill of particulars" that is an objective, factual outline of what the Senate knows and does not know about the agreement.

"In any trade negotiations, there are always 'gives and takes.' Unfortunately, until now, we have yet to see a clear presentation by the executive branch on what exactly we are giving up and the advantages that we would gain under this agreement," Roxas stressed.

The senator said his vote on JPEPA would be based solely on the national interest and his conscience, not on pressure tactics from either supporters or opposers of the agreement.

"That's why I see the need for a bill of particulars to give us a good framework of all the salient issues of the treaty, of what we all already know and don't know as of yet in relation to these issues. The different provisions of this agreement must be reviewed and discussed under standards of clarity, reason and comprehensiveness," he said.

The senator noted that various non-government organizations including militant groups have submitted their presentations and position papers to the Senate.

"We in the Senate must carefully study the ramifications of this agreement on the environment, employment, trade and investments, bilateral and regional relationships as well as on the rule of law. Ultimately, we must decide on what's best for the country and our people," Roxas said.

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