Legarda: RCEP to expedite pandemic recovery

February 24, 2023

In a press conference for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) held three days after the Senate concurred on its ratification of the free trade agreement, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda expressed her confidence that RCEP will help expedite the country’s pandemic recovery.

She cited the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s recognition of the value of RCEP in boosting pandemic recovery stating that, “The signing of the RCEP among 15 members provides crucial momentum to redouble their strong commitment to pursuing free trade and expanding open and inclusive trade and investment regimes to enhance economic recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Amidst the perception that the ratification was hastened, Legarda assured the vulnerable sectors that their pleas were heard and considered in the country’s commitments as outlined in the Senate Resolution concurring the ratification of RCEP.

Addressing the vulnerable sectors in agriculture and the MSMEs, Legarda said, “The agreement is 510 pages of technical language on international trade. It is frankly difficult to read while imagining the impact it will have on our palengke or on the fisherfolk bringing home their catch or on the farmer. Nais ko pong ipaabot sa inyo na pinag-aaralan ko nang masusi ang inyong mga sinabi. Inaanyayahan ko po kayong tingnan ang ating resolusyon at hanapin doon ang mga nabanggit na ninyo.”

Also touching on the assurance of environmental protection under RCEP, she emphasized the reaffirmation of RCEP of the rights and responsibilities under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Tinanggap ko ‘yung assignment kasi ito lang [ang] tingin kong free trade agreement na nagre-reaffirm at binibigyang halaga ang Convention on Biological Diversity, as stated under Article 17.10 of the RCEP Agreement,” Legarda stated.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, which was adopted at Rio, is a pact among the vast majority of the world’s governments to make sure that as the world continues to develop, the diverse biological resources we need to sustain life on Earth are not used up. This balance is called Sustainable Development.

After the press conference led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Legarda, together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Sec. Alfredo Pascual and Asst. Sec. Allan Gepty, the Senate Resolution concurring with the country’s ratification of RCEP was signed by Zubiri. The copy of the signed Resolution will be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature. (End)