February 2, 2012
Senator Loren Legarda's Opening Statement
Good morning and welcome to the hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
First in our agenda is the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) to establish the Office of the WorldFish Center in the Philippines.
I note that the genesis of ICLARM can be traced back to the Philippines. It was initially established in November 1976 as a private, non-stock and non-profit corporation for purposes of operating a center on international aquatic resources management.
It would be instructive to note how this organization has evolved over time, thirty-five years after it was established. This organization was initially headquartered in Manila, but subsequently moved to Penang, Malaysia. We want an elucidation on that development.
We will also discuss today four tax treaties, to wit:
The Philippines is enforcing 37 tax treaties as of January 2012. These tax agreements basically aim to address, among others, issues of double taxation with the view to promoting cross-border economic activities.
A fundamental question I would like this hearing to address is, "To what extent have these tax treaties allowed reciprocity in equivalent measure or parity in economic give-and-take between treaty partners?"
With that, I wish to open our discussions on the items in our agenda, starting with ICLARM.
Thursday, February 23