rep tom villarinThe Philippines stands to lose over $12B dollars in trade benefits and over 200,000 jobs if Congress passes HB 4727 reimposing the death penalty, warned Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin in his interpellation during plenary debates on the controversial measure.

Villarin said the country, which enjoys zero tariffs for its exports to EU countries, for abolishing the death penalty and signing the 2nd Optional Protocol plus 26 other international agreements on human rights, labor and trade union covenants, among others, will lose such economic privileges.

"Why will we let go of such gains when the perceived benefits of reimposing the death penalty is non-existent?" said Villarin.

The GSP+ status gives zero tariffs to 6,274 Philippine products exported to EU countries. In 2013, the Philippines has already a total of $12.8-B worth of trade with EU. At least $1.6B of customs duties are saved because of our GSP+ status, according to data from World Bank.

Many of the country's exports to EU come from agriculture and manufacturing, mostly outside Metro Manila especially Mindanao where industries such as tuna, fruits, coconut oil, carrageenan, and other products abound.

"It will only worsen the peace and order situation in Mindanao, which will be greatly affected by such policy. Death penalty will kill industries, jobs, and livelihoods of the poorest people in our country--a tragic irony of unfathomed proportions," Villarin said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in 2014, the year the Philippines signed the GSP+ trade agreement, tariff-free exports amounted to $6.73B.

It rose to $7.17B in 2015 and will eventually cover the total trade to EU which comprises around 12% of our country's exports. ##