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PIA Press Release
2007/09/27

Feature: RP is signatory to two UN conventions

UNITED NATIONS (27 September) -- The Philippines signed recently two important UN Conventions -- the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said, signing the UN agreements only shows the country's respect for the rights of persons with disabilities and interest in useful reforms specifically because the Philippine economy is "growing and closely tied to international commerce," and also because the country is on the leading edge of the information age, Romulo added.

Romulo explained that the signatories meant that nations would "engage themselves to develop and carry out policies, laws and administrative measures for securing the rights recognized in the convention, and abolish laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination."

He stressed that the convention is not asking for any new rights for the disabled, nor asking for anything that they don't already enjoy, but only that "persons with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities in society that everybody else already enjoys."

The above convention is one of the fastest negotiated treaties in the history of the United Nations, what with its adoption last December after only three years of negotiation, according to Romulo.

The Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, on the other hand, "seeks to enhance the legal certainty and commercial predictability of electronic communications used in relation to international contracts."

This was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Nov. 23, 2005 and it addresses the following concerns: (a) the determination of a party's location in an electronic environment; the time and place of dispatch and the receipt of electronic communications; (b) the use of automated message systems for contract formation; and (c) the criteria to be used for establishing functional equivalence between electronic communications and paper documents -- including "original" paper documents -- as well as between electronic authentication methods and hand-written signatures.

In committing to the said convention, Romulo added that the Philippines is "deeply interested in useful reforms that can spur the development of cross-border online commerce in the developed and developing world." (PIA-7) [top]

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