Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA has been ratified by the Senate last week in spite of the many opposition and disgusto about it since it started in the lower house plenary. JPEPA boasts to help the ailing economic relationship with Japan heal its wounds.
Senators approving the treaty believed JPEPA needs to be ratified, otherwise, Japanese foreign direct investment and earnings from Philippine exports to Japan may go to other Southeast Asian countries where Japan has economic partnership agreements.
But why is there a lot of opposition to this so-called economic treaty?
Concerned groups and oppositors have expressed their concerns on the treaty even before this came to the Senate for debate. The contention is that it is unconstitutional since it violates the protectionist provisions in the Constitution. And the group that will be affected are Filipino nurses who wants to work in Japan.
The detractors believed that this same treaty will also become a “template” for other developed countries to exploit our OFWs particularly Pinoy nurses in exchange for economic and trade exchanges. And you know that we reported earlier that even the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) supports the call to junk the JPEPA during the legislative deliberation.
The impact is debilitating for most of our ordinary countrymen seeking healthcare-related jobs in Japan. For nurses, they will first work and get paid as trainees while preparing for the nursing licensure exam in the Japanese language. If they fail to pass the exam within a three-year period, they will have to return to the Philippines.
The treaty compromises Filipino nurses’ labor standards, job security, migrant and labor rights, benefits and wages, and other protection for healthcare workers and caregivers. Many believe that the trade agreement’s provision on labor services would compromise Filipino health workers and put them in a very vulnerable position.
16 Philippine senators voted in favor of the Treaty which is described to be as “onerous trade agreement.” Only four senators voted against the JPEPA.
The Philippine Consulate at Tel Aviv in Israel has warned the public that there is no such requirement for Pinoy nurses in the land of the Holy.
This announcement came after reports that certain recruitment agencies have been luring the job-hungry Pinoy nurses who are now stranded in the Philippines ready to work abroad. The embassy has denied reports of employment opportunities at a certain Jordan Valley Medical Center.
The Philippine government has already made some information awareness to thwart any attempt to recruit our Filipino nurses to Israel.
You have been warned.
Japan, known to be very stringent in their immigration laws, has finally succumbed to the needs of its aging population and admitted to the world they need the help of their Asian neighbors to take care of their old and sick population.
These Indonesian nurses are part of the 1,000 strong contingent slated to go to Japan within the next 2 years after the free trade pact took effect between the two countries on July 1. These Indonesian nurses are expected to work full time in hospitals and nursing-care facilities. They are expected to be trained for six months to learn the Japanese language before starting to work as nurses.
In a recent interview with PNA President Dr. Leah Samaco-Paquiz, such decline in demand for Filipino nurses is brought about by several factors which includes the changes in policy in destination countries, the oversupply situation and quality problems and doubts on Pinoy nurses.
The United States and United Kingdom are major destination for Filipino nurses in the past but these 2 countries are now closing their doors slowly to our nurses. The US Visa retrogression and the UK Policy change on immigrants are to be blamed for this issue. These countries will soon prefer to hire local nurses rather than recruit from overseas like the Philippines.
It’s a sad news for all nursing students out there who are still hopeful to leave the country as soon as they pass the local board and other series of tests in the nursing profession. This would have a very debilitating impact on the local nursing profession very soon if these nurses can’t go anywhere then the where will these future nursing graduates work?