Press Release
January 25, 2022

Senate concurs in PH accession to 1961 Convention on Reduction of Statelessness

The Senate, voting 21-0-0, approved on third and final reading Tuesday, January 25, 2022, a resolution agreeing to the Philippines' accession to a United Nations (UN) convention seeking to prevent and reduce statelessness.

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairperson of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of the measure, said acceding to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness will show the country's commitment to its obligations under human rights agreements, especially those that concern the affirmation of the right of all individuals to a nationality.

The Philippines is already a signatory to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

The 1961 Convention lays down measures to prevent and reduce statelessness among children; statelessness due to renunciation of nationality; statelessness due to deprivation of nationality; and statelessness in the context of State succession.

"It is a pressing concern, especially in this COVID-19 pandemic. But with or without a pandemic, statelessness is a real problem for millions of people around the world," Pimentel said in his sponsorship speech earlier.

Under the 1987 Constitution, "no treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate."

Approved Resolution No. 964 states that the Senate concurs in the accession to the 1961 Convention with the following declarations:

The Republic of the Philippines maintains the grounds for the acquisition, loss and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship as provided under Article IV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and relevant domestic laws;

As to Article 2 of the 1961 Convention, the Republic of the Philippines declares that a foundling found in the Philippines, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is presumed born to a Filipino parent, and therefore, a Filipino citizen;

In accordance with paragraph 3, Article 8 of the 1961 Convention, the Republic of the Philippines retains the grounds for losing Philippine citizenship as provided for under the Commonwealth Act No. 63 (s.1936) or "An Act Providing for the Ways in Which Philippine Citizenship May be Lost or Reacquired," subject, however, to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9225 or the "Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003" and RA No. 8171, and other prevailing domestic laws; and,

While Article 12, paragraph 3 of the Convention provides that "[t]he provisions of Article 2 shall apply only to foundlings found in the territory of a Contracting State after the entry into force of the 1961 Convention for that State," the Republic of the Philippines may apply Article 2 retroactively should it be more beneficial and conducive to the well-being of the foundling.

Further, concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment, shall take measures to register and assist undocumented Filipinos and children born under disadvantaged situation to avoid their risk of being stateless.

The resolution also states that the President of the Philippines may, with the concurrence of the Senate, withdraw from the treaty.

News Latest News Feed