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PHILIPPINE- SWITZERLAND RELATIONS

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Switzerland began on 30 August 1956 upon the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries.

The Exchange of Instruments of Ratification of the Treaty of Friendship between the Philippines and Switzerland took place on 21 January 1957. Thereafter, Ambassador Salvador P. Lopez, Philippine Ambassador to France , was concurrently accredited to Switzerland on 21 June 1957.

Swiss-Philippine bilateral relations actually predate formal diplomatic relations. Interaction between the two countries can be traced back to the early 1800s when Swiss traders, missionaries and travelers ventured into Southeast Asia.

The idea of opening a Swiss official representation in the Philippines was initiated in 1851, which finally culminated in the establishment of a Swiss honorary consulate in Manila in 1862.

Since then, exchanges between the two countries have flourished, particularly in the economic, cultural, social and political spheres. These collaborative efforts have also been strengthened through the signing of numerous agreements in the fields of investments, visa waiver, mutual legal assistance, extradition, avoidance of double taxation, social security, and exchange of professional and technical trainees, among others.

Philippine-Swiss business relations go back to the last century with some big Swiss business names figuring prominently alongside big names in Philippine business. Counted among these are Nestle Philippines, Holcim Philippines, Glencore Switzerland, SGS Philippines.

To date, there are over 60 Swiss companies present in the Philippines employing around 15,000 Filipinos. About one-third or 28% of said Swiss companies belong to the industrial sector, while 72% are in the service sector. In addition, there are a number of Filipino/Swiss family-owned enterprises running small resorts and dive shops scattered around the archipelago.

Filipinos in Switzerland

Filipinos living and working in Switzerland historically migrated to the country beginning in the late 70’s as spouses of Swiss nationals; as professionals employed by UN agencies and other international organizations or by Swiss and multinational companies; as nurses and health care givers; as service workers engaged by foreign diplomatic missions and their personnel; as representatives of churches and religious organizations; or as employees in other sectors.

Since then, Filipinos in Switzerland have worked and integrated in various sectors of Swiss society.

In Berne, majority of Filipinos are employed in different capacities in foreign missions (technical, administrative and private staff) and residence of heads of diplomatic missions. A sizeable number are also found in hospitals and nursing homes, working either as nurses, caregivers or administrative staff members.

In Zürich, Filipinos are grouped in a number of sectors, including nurses and those working in medical/health allied professions; IT, engineering, and various services sectors.

In Geneva, a large portion of Filipinos work in the UN and its other agencies. Some Filipinos are also doing domestic work and other technical jobs.

In general, Filipino workers in Switzerland enjoy satisfactory working conditions and terms of employment. They are among the highest paid workers in Europe. Generally, complaints have been settled amicably through informal discussions with the employers.

As of 30 June 2016, there are an estimated 12,248 Filipinos living all around in Switzerland, including those who are married to Swiss nationals and their second-generation children.

 

PHILIPPINES-LIECHTENSTEIN RELATIONS

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Principality of Liechtenstein were formally established on 24 November 1995 when Ambassador Tomas T. Syquia, Philippine Ambassador to Berne , Switzerland, presented his credentials as non-resident Ambassador to the Principality. This marked the initial step towards furthering ties with a country in Europe which has become a favorite home for many companies because of its liberal tax legislation.

For the past years, Philippine–Liechtenstein relations focused on humanitarian assistance and the establishment of presence of some Liechtensteiner companies in the Philippines, such as Ivoclar Vivadent Group (dental products and systems company), Balzers Oerlikon (supplier of PVC coatings) and Hilti AG (construction and engineering), as well as the support extended by Liechtensteiner foundation LGT Venture Philanthropy Foundation, to some Philippine NGOs. A few individuals from Lichtenstein are also shareholders in some resort/diving companies registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission).

Filipino Community in Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein is host to around 38, including the 16 who have already acquired Liechtensteiner citizenship. Majority of Filipinos residing in Lichtenstein are married mainly to Liechtensteiners and some to German nationals.

THE PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN BERNE

Ambassador Tomas de Castro was the first resident Philippine Ambassador in Berne, Switzerland.

The following served as resident Ambassadors in Switzerland :

• Tomas G. De Castro (1959-1964);
• Modesto Farolan (1956-1968);
• Bartolome Umayam (1969-1972);
• Hortencio C. Brilliantes (1973-1977);
• Rolando A. Garcia (1978-1981);
• Armando D. Manalo (1985-1986);
• Luis V. Ascalon (1987-1992);
• Tomas T. Syquia (1993-2000);
• Rora Navarro-Tolentino (2000-2006);
• Minerva Jean A. Falcon (2007-2008);
• Maria Theresa P. Lazaro (2008-2011);
• Leslie J. Baja (2011-2015);
• Joselito A. Jimeno (2015-present).

Addresses of the Embassy Chancery in Berne:

• 1958-1965 Kramgasse 63, 3011 Berne
• 1965-1978 Kornhausplatz 7, 3011 Berne
• 1978-1996 Hallwylstrasse 34, 3005 Berne
• 1996-2001 Brunnmattstrasse 24, 3007 Berne
• 2001-present Kirchenfeldstrasse 73-75, 3005 Berne

MAJOR AGREEMENTS SIGNED BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND SWITZERLAND

The following are among the major agreements between the Philippines and Switzerland:

SUBJECT OF THE AGREEMENT STATUS
1. Interim Agreement on Trade Signed on 02 July 1946 and 28 October 1946 In force on 28 October 1946.
2. Treaty of Friendship Signed on 30 August 1956 in Manila. In force since 18 November 1957.
3. Air Services Agreement Signed on 8 March 1952, Manila. Ratified on 5 October 1953. In force since 25 November 1953 With subsequent amendments.
4. Abolition of Visa Requirements for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders Concluded by an exchange of notes on 19 October 1973. In force since 16 November 1973.
5. Extradition Treaty Signed on 19 October 1989 in Berne. In force since 23 February 1997.
6. Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments Signed on 31 March 1997. In force since 23 April 1999.
7. Convention on the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income Signed on 24 June 1998 in Manila In force since 1 January 2002.
8. Agreement in the field of Social Security Signed on 17 September 2001 in Berne. In force since 1 March 2004.
9. Agreement on Cooperation in the Event of Natural Disaster or Major Emergencies Signed on 6 December 2001 in Berne. In force since 5 April 2002.
10. Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Signed on 9 July 2002 in Manila. In force on 01 December 2005.
11. Agreement on the Re-admission of Persons with Unauthorized Stay Signed on 9 July 2002 in Manila. In force since 25 February 2003.
12. Agreement on the Exchange of Professional and Technical Trainees Signed on 9 July 2002 in Manila. In force since 10 June 2003.
13. Memorandum of Agreement between the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office and the Maritime Training Council on the Recognition of Certificates of Competency and Training of Seafarers for Service on Board Vessels Registered in Switzerland Signed by Switzerland in December 2004 Signed by the Philippines on 28 March 2005
14. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Swiss Federal Council on the Performance of Remunerated Activities by Dependants of Members of Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts and Permanent Missions Signed on 19 November 2010
15. Agreement on the Establishment of the Philippines-Switzerland Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Signed on 28 June 2013
16. Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office (SMNO) on the Recognition of Certificates under the Terms of the 1978 STCW Convention Signed on 03 March 2016
17. Free Trade Agreement between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) composed of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein Signed on 28 April 2016