Press Release
February 23, 2012

Senator Loren Legarda's Opening Statement
Hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Thank you for coming to today's hearing of the Committee on Foreign Relations. Good morning to all of you.

First in our agenda this morning is the Consular Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China.

I note that the Consular Agreement with the People's Republic of China is the first consular agreement to be signed by the Philippines after the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, also known as the VCCR, in 1963.

It would be enlightening to know more about this Agreement as well as to what extent should it enable the government to effectively promote the third pillar of Philippine foreign policy, the protection and promotion of the rights of Filipinos abroad.

We shall also tackle two mutual legal assistance agreements: the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the People's Republic of China.

The Philippines has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with six (6) countries, namely, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. Today's discussion will elucidate the impacts and benefits of these proposed additional mutual legal assistance agreements.

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