Manila, 26 Jan 2007 – Greenpeace today warned that the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA, now awaiting Senate ratification, includes dangerous provisions that would encourage the export of Japan’s nuclear and radioactive waste into the country.

Aside from provisions which promote hazardous waste dumping by Japan to the country, the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) also includes provisions which exempt radioactive materials and “spent (irradiated) fuel elements (cartridges) of nuclear reactors” among others, from tariff. Greenpeace believes that the said headings would include wastes from nuclear reactors.

Despite clear prohibitions against the entry of radioactive waste into the country’s borders, there are apprehensions that the treaty, once adopted would trump existing laws including Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act which supposedly guards against such dangerous waste shipments into the country.

“JPEPA proponents will probably argue that there is no intention to trade in nuclear waste between the two countries and that our existing laws will protect us from such shipments. If the intention is not there, then why include these waste provisions in the first place? By encouraging the trading of radioactive and toxic waste, the agreement only increases the risk that these dangerous materials will end up in our shores one day. The Philippine Senate must not ratify JPEPA unless all nuclear and toxic waste dumping provisions are scrapped ,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis.

Both countries were on the verge of concurrently ratifying the free trade pact, until civil society and environmental groups protested against provisions that would allow Japan to export its hazardous wastes to the Philippines. The JPEPA has been made public following its signing by the Japanese and the Philippine governments.

“It is highly immoral and unjust for a rich country like Japan to dump its dangerous wastes on countries which neither have the means nor resources to manage their own waste problems effectively. Moreover, it is a fact that no safe solution has yet been found for the disposal of radioactive waste,” added Baconguis.

Japan and the Philippines are both signatories to the Basel Convention, a legally-binding global commitment to stop the export of hazardous waste from industrialized countries to developing countries. Both countries, however, have yet to ratify the Basel Ban, an amendment to the Basel Convention which forbids even trade of hazardous waste disguised as recycling.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Senate inaction on RE Bill not an option, Greenpeace says

Manila, 26 Jan 2007—Greenpeace today intensified their call on the Senate to fast-track the passage of the Renewable Energy (RE) Bill, in a press conference in Quezon City with other pro-renewable energy groups, contending that renewable energy can—and must—play a leading role in the world’s energy future if we are to secure the planet for the next generation.

The press conference, which included speakers from World Wildlife Fund-Philippines and the Klima Climate Change Center of the Manila Observatory, came at the heels of the launch of Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook, a groundbreaking new report produced by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace. The report details how renewable energy, combined with the smart use of energy, can deliver half of the world’s energy needs by 2050, and effectively help stop climate change and its disastrous consequences.

“The Senate must realize that the massive uptake of renewable energy is both urgently necessary and technically possible. All that is missing is urgent policy support. The Philippines’ RE Bill would be the first of such policies in our region—if the Bill is enacted before the 13th Congress adjourns. Otherwise, the bill, which took 10 years before it was passed in the Lower House, can face another long wait-time which our country can ill afford," said Greenpeace Climate & Energy campaigner Jasper Inventor.

"We need a renewable energy law with clear targets which would allow Filipinos to benefit from the country's vast wind and solar energy potential. It is just unacceptable that this potential remains mostly untapped, especially given the daunting challenges we face in the areas of energy security and climate change,” he added.

The Philippines, along with other developing nations across the region, have been bearing the brunt of the disastrous consequences of climate change. Last year, the country was battered by three strong typhoons which left entire regions in a state of calamity with the tragic loss of lives and property. Early this week, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) admitted that damage to agriculture from typhoons have adversely affected economic growth in 2006. Meanwhile, climate change impacts are expected to worsen in the coming years, likely to trigger fresh rounds of economic disasters.

The massive uptake of renewable energy is the key to the fight against climate change. At the same time it also addresses other challenges, such as energy security and the increasing volatility of fossil fuel prices, which are crucial to developing countries like the Philippines.

"Inaction is not an option. The RE Bill is a measure to protect the people and the economy. For the sake of a sound environment and economic growth, the Senate must immediately ensure the passage of this bill, and in doing so commit to a truly secure and sustainable energy future," said Inventor.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

For more information: Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner, +63 917 300 9567 Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034 loc 104

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 803 6077 Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034

-- Lea Guerrero Media Campaigner Greenpeace Southeast Asia tel: +63 2 434 7034 fax: +63 2 434 7035 mob: +63 916 374 4969 skype: leaguerrero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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