Critical Review written by spaceboykokong on Friday 14, September 2007

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When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed a treaty back in September 9, 2006 with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan in Helsinki, Finland, (a land so far away from the curious eyes of Filipinos despite Arroyo's bid for transparency and a public discourse. What a joke!) it made the Philippines a potential spot for toxic and nuclear waste dumping site. The treaty, Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), states that Japan will ease restrictions in its labor market to accommodate more Filipino health care professionals, lower tariffs on agricultural trade, and liberalize investment conditions in the Philippines for Japanese corporations. If these 3 were only the basis, then the deal sounds good, right? But sadly, it isn't. Upon the said treaty, Japan will also be dumping their waste in our land. Some of the toxic and hazardous substances include municipal, medical, and pharmaceutical wastes, industry scraps, incinerator ash and residues, sewage sludge, slags, etc which contain extremely toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) among others. The funny thing is, the Philippines, again under Arroyo, signed a ratification back in 2004 that declares polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as one of the dirtiest toxics and should be phased out globally. Talk about Arroyo's consistency. Another big concern is the agreement that also allows the inclusion of nuclear wastes and other radioactive materials such as spent (irradiated) fuel, uranium depleted of U235, uranium enriched in U235, natural uranium and plutonium. There is yet no clear answer on how to deal with radioactive wastes globally. More so, it increases the chances of terrorism since these elements are key ingredients for creating mass destruction. The Philippine government has always experienced a tough time in dealing with our own ordinary municipal wastes, let alone toxic and radioactive wastes from a foreign country. Are we going to embrace the scenario that one day, boats loaded with toxics and nukes from Japan will soon end up in our shores and eventually contaminate our waters, land and air and putting lives at risk?

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