Legarda: Senate Approves on 2nd Reading the Cybercrime Convention, Agreement Establishing AMRO, and Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties

February 13, 2018

The Senate approved today on second reading five treaties, namely, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) Between the Philippines and Mexico, Agreement Establishing the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) as an International Organization, DTAA Between the Philippines and Thailand, Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, and DTAA Between the Philippines and Sri Lanka.


Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that the agreements are scheduled for approval on third and final reading on Monday, February 19.


Legarda explained that the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime remains the only binding international legal mechanism adopted by countries to address the threats posed by cybercrime.


“The Internet improved many things and ushered in a more intertwined humanity. But it also gave rise to numerous unintended consequences, foremost of which is cybercrime. Since cybercrime, by its very nature, is borderless, simultaneous and persistent, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration with other countries is therefore vital,” she stressed.


The Senator said that the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime will provide the Philippines distinct guideposts on the track towards harmonizing its national laws with prevailing international legal frameworks and practices.


Meanwhile, the DTAAs generally provide for the elimination of double taxation between the Philippines and Thailand, Sri Lanka and Mexico.


To promote cross-border trade and investment, these agreements seek to (1) allocate taxing jurisdiction so as to avoid double taxation; (2) reduce source-State taxation; (3) prohibit discrimination based on alienage, foreign organization, or foreign ownership; and (4) promote resolution of situations in which the income taxable by one Contracting State as opposed to the other Contracting State is in question.


Finally, the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) will constitute AMRO as an international organization with full legal personality.


The AMRO, initially established as a company limited by guarantee in Singapore, aims to contribute to securing the economic and financial stability of the region through the conduct of regional economic surveillance and by supporting the implementation of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), a multilateral currency swap arrangement among ASEAN+3 members.


To date, the Philippines is the only ASEAN+3 member state that has not yet ratified the AMRO Agreement. In this situation, the country is exposed to reputational risk in terms of its commitment to the ASEAN+3 Cooperation.


“The international organization status will afford the AMRO an intangible capital that can give it access to intelligence, research and other resources owned by other international organizations, and regional and global fora. This will provide greater macroeconomic surveillance capability for the institution, and consequently benefit the Philippines as one of its clients together with other ASEAN+3 Members,” said Legarda.