Legarda: Senate Concurs in PHL Accession to Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

February 2, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines has acceded to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction more than 30 years after the Convention entered into force on 1 December 1983.

Legarda, Chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, said that the Senate concurred in the Philippines’ Accession to the Convention on Monday, 1 February 2016.

“The Convention aims to settle issues of parental child abduction by providing a system of cooperation among countries in case one parent brings the child out of his/her habitual residence without the consent of the other parent,” Legarda explained.

“The Convention will provide administrative and judicial avenue to parents and children affected by international parental child abduction, or those parents who need help preventing their children from being abducted from their country of habitual residence,” she added..

Legarda said the benefit of acceding to the Convention is undeniable especially for our millions of overseas Filipino workers who may find themselves in the scenario sought to be avoided.

“The country’s accession to this Convention will make a difference in resolving child custody disputes, especially in helping the left-behind parent because in the current scenario, there is almost nothing that can be done except to pursue a criminal case,” she explained.

As a Hague state party, the left-behind parent of a child who is wrongfully removed from the Philippines, or retained in the country when this is not the child’s habitual residence, would have several administrative remedies to locate and gain access to their child in another State, through the designated Central Authority.

The Convention does not decide on the issue of custody, nor does it identify which country would be the more appropriate home for the child. The Convention only obliges all parties to respect the jurisdiction of the court in the country of usual abode of the child to decide on such legal issues. The child shall be promptly returned to the country of habitual residence for a custody hearing.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is one of the Conventions of the Hague Conference of Private International Law (HCCH), an intergovernmental cooperation for cross-border cooperation on civil and commercial matters. The Statute of the HCCH entered into force for the Philippines on 14 July 2010.