MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and the University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center officially sealed a partnership to help children get support from parents abroad.

According to a news release on Thursday, the DSWD and the UP Law Center signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Jan. 30 at the College of Law inside the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.

The two institutions forged the accord for the implementation of the Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance as part of the DSWD’s continuing efforts to protect the welfare of every Filipino child.

In his message during the signing ceremony, then DSWD officer-in-charge Eduardo M. Punay expressed the department’s gratitude to the UP Law Center and stated the importance of the implementation of the Child Support Convention.

“With this Convention in place, we will be able to assist the families to locate, apply, process, and claim child support for the left-behind child or children from his or her foreign parent or Filipino parent residing outside the Philippines,” Punay said.

The MOA was signed by Punay and UP Law Center Dean Edgardo Carlo Vistan II and was witnessed by DSWD Operations Group Undersecretary Jerico Francis Javier and Department of Foreign Affairs - Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs Assistant Secretary Roussel Reyes.

The Convention aims to ensure the effective international recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance by providing a system of close coordination and cooperation between contracting parties around the world.

It would also provide better access to cross-border maintenance procedures through services and any free legal assistance; and expedited and simplified procedures for recognition and enforcement, among others.

Furthermore, it will facilitate the applications of individuals seeking child support, and on a limited basis, spousal support from foreign parents or spouses, as well as the efficient recognition and enforcement of support decisions even if rendered by foreign courts.

Through the Convention, Filipino families may seek assistance from DSWD, as the central authority of the Philippines, to locate their foreign or Filipino spouses residing abroad to obtain support for their child or children. Likewise, foreign nationals may also ask for assistance, through their respective central authority, to locate their Filipino or non-Filipino spouses, if alleged here in the Philippines, to provide support for their child or children.

For his part, Dean Edgardo Carlo Vistan II also welcomes everyone to the signing ceremony.

“Allow me to assure you, our colleagues in the DSWD as well as in the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), that as we enter into this partnership, we are ready and eager to roll up our sleeves and begin the work with you to ensure that the needs and the best interest of children all over the world are addressed,” Vistan said.

As the designated central authority of the Philippines, the DSWD shall transmit and receive applications from the “creditor” or the family requesting child support, and from the “debtor” or the legally obliged provider; initiate or facilitate the institution of proceedings of the applications; and shall provide assistance in locating the debtor or the creditor, obtaining documentary requirements, collecting and transferring the provided support, among others.

As a partner, the UP Law Center will provide assistance on the applications requiring legal assessment and advice; obtaining documentary requirements or other evidence; and facilitating the ongoing enforcement of maintenance decisions, including any arrears, as well as collection and expeditious transfers of maintenance payments. (PNA)