Roxas: After JPEPA ratification, "time to roll up sleeves"

Friday, October 10, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas yesterday said the government and the private sector must now start working to maximize the opportunities and mitigate potential threats resulting from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), ratified by the Senate last Wednesday.

"At this time of uncertainty due to the global financial slump, we must be protecting our competitiveness relative to our neighbors in the ASEAN and provide a predictable and stable environment for business, and for jobs, to thrive," he stressed.

"Hindi naman malalaglag na lang sa langit ang biyaya dahil ipinasa na natin ang JPEPA. It’s time that the government and the private sector roll up their sleeves and take action to make sure that the benefits of this treaty are realized," he said.

"Meanwhile, the threats seen or even the ‘doomsday scenario’ painted by those against the JPEPA may happen anyway with our without JPEPA. Weak enforcement of safeguards, wrong prioritization when it comes to funding—these are wrongs that must be corrected, with or without JPEPA," he said.
Roxas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and co-sponsor of the JPEPA, said the government must deliver on its commitment for an P18.8-billion five-year competitiveness fund relative to JPEPA.

"If they say we will be helping our agricultural producers and manufacturers compete in the Japanese market, then the government must put its money where its mouth is," he said.

"Ang pangako ng gobyerno, may P18.8-bilyong competitiveness fund para sa limang taon. Hahanapin namin ang alokasyong ito sa mga darating na budget hearings sa Senado," he said.
The Development Budget Coordination Committee had already committed last year to provide a program to enhance the competitiveness of local industries and to put in place necessary safety nets. The P18.8-billion JPEPA Competitiveness and Safety Fund will be supplementary to existing budgets of agencies, for programs in line with JPEPA to be carried out in a five-year plan.

"We can no longer shirk away from the globalized economy. It is best that we are equipped with the necessary tools not only to retain our standing in the world economy, but to increase it. JPEPA is just the start. In the end, the most important thing is the welfare of Filipinos in the global market," he said.

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Kevin Ray N. Chua

Kevin Ray N. Chua is a 19 year-old blogger from Cebu City, Philippines and an IT Student at Cebu Institute of Technology.

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