DFA launches Philippine Treaties Online

A September 7, 2011 pres release from the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through its Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), has made available on its website the full text of some 1,600 international agreements entered into the country since 1946, under its “Philippine Treaties Online” project.

“The launch of the Philippine Treaties Online is a significant achievement for the Department pursuant to the commitment of the Aquino Administration to “transparent, accountable and participatory governance,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

“It is best to make the terms of these agreements easily accessible to our people, as these agreements not only embody our country’s international commitments but, more importantly, contain immense opportunities for our people,” he added.

Entrepreneurs, exporters, and businesspersons can benefit from accords on trade access, investment promotion and protection, and avoidance of double taxation. Farmers, fisher folks and others in the countryside may benefit from agreements on foreign technical and development assistance. Students and the youth can avail of educational and cultural exchange programs with other countries and institutions, among others.

The full text of these international agreements may be viewed by clicking the Philippine Treaties Online link at the DFA website or by visiting http://dfa.gov.ph/treaties/ola.

The Treaties Digitization Project was initiated by outgoing Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs and now Philippine Ambassador-designate to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya, in partnership with the Supreme Court’s Library Services. Malaya served until recently as DFA Spokesman in a concurrent capacity.

The project resulted in the release by DFA-OLA in June last year of the CD-ROM “Philippine Treaties: 1946-2010,” containing the full text of the agreements; the publication of the book “Philippine Treaties Index: 1946-2010,” edited by Assistant Secretary Malaya, then OLA Director Maria Antonina M. Oblena and Allan Casupanan; and the launch of the “Philippine Treaties Online.”

Assistant Secretary Malaya commended the OLA staff members who themselves spent countless hours proofreading the agreements and uploading them to the DFA website, thus sparing the Department the expense of engaging outside information services.

“Their hard work, dedication and admirable bayanihan spirit enabled us to realize what was once just a dream,” he said.

The OLA Assistant Secretary cited, in particular, the immense contributions of Executive Director Irene Susan Natividad, Director Azela Arumpac and Joel Ramirez. He also thanked the project’s other partners, notably the Foreign Service Institute, the Philippine Ambassadors’ Foundation, the Supreme Court’s Library Services and the DFA-Coratel and Management Information System Division.

The other major projects undertaken by DFA-OLA were Philippine accession to and membership in the Permanent Court of Arbitration and The Hague Conference on Private International Law, both in June last year, and the recent ratification of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, among others.

The DFA-OLA is also hosting the regional conference of the Hague Conference on Private International Law on October 26 to 28 at the Mandarin Hotel, in partnership with the Philippine Judicial Academy and the University of the Philippines’ College of Law in commemoration of the latter’s centennial anniversary.