Senate to OK JPEPA if Japan won?t dump toxic waste here

Pimentel said that during a brief visit to Tokyo a few days ago, he learned about the plan of the Japanese government to issue a clarificatory protocol that will settle the issue on hazardous waste, a principal concern of the senators.

He said the clarificatory protocol will supposedly provide that Japan will abide by Philippine laws prohibiting the dumping of wastes into the country; and declare that it respects the Basel Convention that binds signatory-countries not to allow the disposal of wastes to other countries.

In a press statement, Pimentel said that if Japan will proceed with the issuance of the  clarificatory protocol, senators who had reservations about the JPEPA will no longer object to the ratification of the accord.

"If they will make a firm commitment to respect our laws against environmental pollution, I see no reason why the JPEPA cannot get the Senate's approval," he said, unless there are other basic defects.

Earlier, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics campaigner Beau Baonguis said the possibility still looms that Japan will export toxic waste to the Philippines despite the exchange fo dimplmatic notes between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese foreign minister Taro Aso.

Baconguis said the diplomatic exchange only reinforces the “pervading concern that there is an underlying intention to trade in hazardous waste within the JPEPA.”

She stressed that the JPEPA still includes provisions which ‘incentivizes’ trading of hazardous wastes and that “the diplomatic notes now being packaged as some kind of side agreement to the treaty are not as clear-cut as both parties would like to make it appear.”

She noted that while the diplomatic notes cited Japanese and Philippine laws as well as the Basel Convention as bases for the non-exportation of toxic waste, “current hazardous waste laws in the Philippines are among the weakest in Southeast Asia, and allow the entry of toxic waste under the guise of recycling.”