TUCP seeks P2-B emergency fund if JPEPA ratified

Published by rudy Date posted on January 20, 2008

The country’s largest labor union sought yesterday a P2-billion emergency fund for workers likely to be displaced when the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) takes effect.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the labor federation would support the JPEPA if the government would provide a P2-billion fund to cushion the impact of free entry of Japanese products.

“The amount could cover emergency loans as well as funding for skills retooling that would enable displaced workers to readily qualify for new employment,” TUCP spokesman Alex Aguilar said.

The fund could also be used to subsidize the language training of Filipino nurses to allow them to readily qualify for employment in Japan, he added.

Aguilar noted that the entry of Japanese products might displace Filipino workers, but that the JPEPA would be beneficial for the country in the long term.

“Based on our cost-benefit analysis of the likely impact of the accord, we reckon that the potential economic gains outweigh the implied losses,” he said.

Aguilar said increased trade and investments from Japan would counteract any possible negative effect on the country’s economy of the looming recession in the United States.

After the US, Japan is the Philippines’ second largest trading partner and source of foreign direct investments, he added.

Aguilar said JPEPA would open Japan’s door to Filipino healthcare workers such as nurses, physical therapists and caregivers.

“The door may be opened only a bit at the start,” he said.  “However, we are absolutely convinced that Japan will have no choice but to eventually allow the deployment there of thousands of Filipino health staff. The Japanese are aging fast.”  – Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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