Legarda Supports PHL Accession to Hague Convention on Interparental Child Abduction

July 1, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda expressed support to the Philippines’ accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction during her meeting with Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Senior Adviser for Children’s Issues of the US State Department.

The Hague Convention on Interparental Child Abduction aims to settle issues of child custody disputes between parents, especially when one parent brings the child out of his/her habitual residence without the consent of the other parent.

“For a child whose parents could no longer live together, it could be even more traumatic if the child is transported out of his/her habitual residence. Child custody disputes should be settled in the country that is the child’s habitual place of abode to protect the child from the harmful effects of living in an unfamiliar place,” said Legarda.

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.