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Senate Concurs in Ratification of PH-EU Cooperation Agreement, Social Security Agreements with Sweden, Germany

January 22, 2018

The Senate has unanimously concurred in the ratification of three treaties covering the Philippines’ partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union and the social security agreements with Sweden and Germany, said Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

With 20 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention, the Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the resolutions seeking the Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of 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 PCA commits the country and the EU into pursuing dialogue and cooperation on political matters, justice and security affairs, trade and investment, migration, and other economic development and sectoral issues,” said Legarda.

“This agreement intends to promote dialogue in 41 areas of cooperation such as on sustainable development, particularly environmental sustainability; reduction of the impact of climate change and mitigation of disaster risk; and exchange of experts in areas of science, technology, statistics, food and drug, and health, among many others,” she added.

Other areas of cooperation include combatting terrorism, human trafficking and illicit drugs; countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, small arms, and lights weapons; protecting human rights; promoting development cooperation; and capacity-building and technical cooperation initiatives.

The Senator also emphasized that the PCA will bolster the Philippines’ status as a beneficiary country under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and provide basis for concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU. The prospective FTA aims to enhance market access for goods, services, and investments for the two sides, thereby ensuring benefits for our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise 99.5% of total businesses and employ 61.6% of the total workforce in the country.

“Through the PCA, discussions on issues concerning both parties would take place in an institutionalized mechanism, which will ensure greater coordination between the Philippines and the EU,” she said.

Upon the PCA’s entry into force, a Joint Committee, composed of PH and EU senior officials, will be established. The Joint Committee will set out the priorities within the framework of cooperation, provide recommendations for promoting the objectives of the Agreement, and monitor and oversee the proper functioning of the Agreement. Each Party may refer to the Joint Committee for any divergence with the application or interpretation of the PCA.

Meanwhile, the social security agreements with Sweden and Germany would benefit Filipinos living and working in these countries.

These agreements provide for equality of treatment and would entitle covered persons in one state to social security benefits under the same conditions as nationals of the other state.

“These agreements aim to contribute to equality of treatment, allow the portability of benefits to overseas Filipinos and nationals of the host country, and improve the processing of claims while eliminating dual coverage, among others,” said Legarda.

Both the social security agreements with Germany and Sweden contain standard provisions consistent with International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 118 on the Equality of Treatment and ILO Convention 157 on the Maintenance of Social Security Rights.