14 Activists Swim Manila Bay vs JPEPA

The fisherfolk group stated that a 3,000 single-ton Japanese factory ship, accompanied by support fishing fleets can harvest 150 metric tons of tuna a day or 50,000 metric tons per year. A Japanese factory ship will earn at yearly gross income of $242.5 million from sales of regular tuna and skipjack tuna which are still rampant in Philippine waters.

According to Pamalakaya, the fishing aspect of JPEPA is meant for the benefit and survival of Japan’s tuna industry at the expense of the P18-billion ($428.16 million at the April 25 exchange rate of $1:P42.04) local tuna industry. The group said, if ratified, JPEPA will displace around 180,000 tuna fishermen and tuna fish workers all over the country.

The militant group said Japan is seeking exploration and exploitation of Philippine waters and its nearby Asian neighbors, mainly for tuna resources, because Japan has been effectively barred from fishing tuna in the Indian and Atlantic oceans courtesy of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas which rebuked Japan’s massive hunt for tuna over the last 10 years.

Japan is known to consume 630,000 tons of tuna per year or 11 pounds of tuna per person per year. With the shrinking catch in Japan seas and in the Atlantic areas, Japanese transnational tuna corporations are targeting the Philippines as its major source of tuna.

Alice in Wonderland

Santiago, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said her committee’s concurrence to the JPEPA would be subject to the condition that Japan will observe the constitutional provisions on public health, protection of Filipino enterprises, ownership of public lands and use of natural resources, ownership of alienable public lands, ownership of private lands and use of natural resources, reservation of certain areas of investment to Filipinos, and giving preferential treatment to Filipino businesses.

Santiago, a staunch Arroyo ally, also said regulations will cover foreign investments, operation of public utilities, preferential use of Filipino labor and materials, practice of professions, ownership of educational institutions, state regulation of transfer of technology, ownership of mass media and ownership of advertising firms.

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