Legarda Ready to Sponsor PH-EU Cooperation Agreement, Social Security Treaties with Sweden, Germany

December 7, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda is ready to sponsor treaties with the European Union, Germany and Sweden before the Senate goes on break next week.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today conducted a hearing to discuss concurrence in the Philippines’ ratification to three treaties: the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation Between the Philippines and the European Union (PH-EU PCA); the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the Federal Republic of Germany on Social Security (PH-Germany SSA); and the Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Sweden (PH-Sweden SSA).

The Senator said that the PH-EU PCA will serve as a general framework of relations between the Philippines and the EU and will allow better cooperation between the two parties on political, economic and development issues.

“We are currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU which will be linked to the PCA. Through the FTA, we will be able to further unlock our trade and economic potential by providing our products with wider access to the markets of the Member States of the European Union, thereby ensuring benefits for small and medium enterprises,” Legarda said.

The Senator explained that the country will benefit from the PCA through: Customs and Trade Facilitation, which will provide technical assistance and exchange of experts between PH Customs and EU Customs administrations; Cooperation in Combatting Illicit Drugs through strengthened information and information exchange, drug-related research, drug profiling and prevention of manufacture of dangerous drugs and diversion of controlled precursors; cooperation in combatting terrorism and transnational crimes, and migration and maritime labor.

Other areas of cooperation under the PCA include employment and social affairs; development cooperation; economic policy; financial services; good governance in the tax area; industrial policy and SMEs; information and communications technology; audiovisual, media and multimedia; science and technology; transport; tourism; education, culture, intercultural and interfaith dialogue; energy; environment and natural resources including climate change; agriculture, fisheries and rural development; regional development; health; statistics; disaster risk management; and public administration.

Meanwhile, the social security agreements with Germany and Sweden aim to ensure social security benefits of Filipinos working or residing in these countries.

“Many of the countries where Filipinos live and work do not have social safety nets for foreign nationals. This leaves our workers in a precarious situation should the need for such safety nets arise. On the other hand, Filipinos who migrate to countries that have coverage for foreign nationals are unable to accumulate enough insurance periods to qualify for full social security pensions because they do not meet the minimum requirement for coverage. This is the importance of our social security treaties with Germany and Sweden,” Legarda explained.

The Senator added that without a social security agreement between the Philippines and the host country, many employers risk the payment of double contributions or dual coverage when sending a worker on a temporary basis to the other country.

The PH-Germany and PH-Sweden Social Security Agreements aim to improve the administration of social security benefits for Filipinos working and living in Germany and Sweden, respectively.

These agreements contain standard provisions that are consistent with International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on social security.

These agreements were proposed to contribute to equality of treatment, allow the portability of benefits to overseas Filipinos and nationals of host countries, and improve the processing of claims while eliminating dual coverage, among others.