Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Drilon: Treaty or agreement? Let SC on decide on EDCA

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon advised critics of the recently-signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States to bring their concerns to the Supreme Court.

“It would be wise to bring up to the Supreme Court the debate on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, for it is only the high court that can resolve with finality if the EDCA is a treaty that requires the concurrence of the Senate, or an executive agreement which the executive has the power under the Constitution to execute and implement,” said Drilon.

The Senate leader’s recommendations came after several quarters including lawmakers have expressed apprehension over the lack of congressional involvement in the agreement, which was signed last April 28 during the two-day Philippine visit of US President Barack Obama.

Drilon, a former executive and justice secretary, acknowledged the concerns about the EDCA’s conformity to the 1987 Constitution as “legitimate and valid,” and suggested that the EDCA be lodged at the Supreme Court, who will have the power to determine if the agreement must be first ratified as a treaty in Senate before it can be implemented.

“I urge everyone who opposed EDCA to go the Supreme Court, which is the only body that could finally decide whether this is a treaty which would require ratification by the Senate, or an executive agreement which will be implemented by a mere signature of the executive branch,” he said, adding that the SC is the “ultimate arbiter” in this issue.

He said it depends on the executive branch if it thinks the Senate concurrence is needed before the agreement is implemented. But he said the Senate can only act on it officially if executive branch decides to submit the document to the upper chamber.

“If the document is not sent to us, then we have nothing to ratify officially. So I would go back to my suggestion: bring it to the Supreme Court, who is the ultimate arbiter whether this is a treaty or an executive agreement,” said Drilon.

Legarda: Thousands Can Be Employed Through Green Jobs

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today stressed on the importance of promoting green skills and green jobs, stating that it would provide employment opportunities and boost climate change adaptation efforts in the country.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Environment and Natural Resources and on Climate Change, noted that there are already 3.5 million green jobs worldwide and the Philippines has the potential to generate thousands of green jobs, especially if there are more renewable energy investments in the country.

“We take note of the government’s continuing efforts to generate more jobs for our growing population. But despite the various programs to address unemployment, we still need to do more. We can encourage our citizens to train in green skills such as management in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, environmental information technology and other careers that contribute to environmental preservation,” she explained.

“We should also strengthen efforts to encourage more renewable energy investments in the country because this industry can provide thousands of jobs for our people. According to Greenpeace, a geothermal company in the country was able to employ 2,582 individuals for a 1,189-MW plant and that a 10-megawatt solar power plant can provide jobs for 1,000 people for six months during the period of construction and 100 permanent positions for its operation and maintenance,” she added.

The Senator, citing additional data from Greenpeace, said that the availability of green jobs in other nations and regions is rapidly increasing. In Europe, there are already about 650,000 green jobs created; more than 175,000 are employed in the United States’ wind and solar industries; and China has an estimated one million green jobs.[1]

“In generating green jobs, we also need to actively promote the importance of renewable energy projects and encourage Filipinos to consider employment in green industries which provide healthier working environment,” said Legarda.

“Our path should be towards sustainable and resilient development where progress is measured not only through material wealth, but also and more importantly, through the happiness, safety and well-being of our citizens,” Legarda concluded.


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