Difference of Treaty and Executive Agreement Philippines
29. Juni 2023

When it comes to international relations, the Philippines has been involved in various treaties and executive agreements. These two types of agreements may seem similar, but they actually have distinct characteristics and implications. In this article, we will examine the difference between a treaty and an executive agreement in the context of the Philippines.


A treaty is a formal agreement between two or more sovereign states or international organizations that establishes legal obligations and rights. It is a binding international agreement that requires approval by the Senate of the Philippines through a two-thirds vote before it becomes effective. Treaties cover a wide range of issues, such as peace and security, trade and commerce, human rights, and environmental protection.

The Constitution of the Philippines recognizes the importance of treaties in international relations by stating that „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.“ This means that treaties have a higher level of legal force and authority than executive agreements.

One of the most significant international treaties that the Philippines has ratified is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This treaty defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world`s oceans, including marine resources, navigation, and maritime boundaries.

Executive agreements

An executive agreement, on the other hand, is a less formal agreement between the Philippines and another country or international organization. It is negotiated and signed by the President or his or her representative without the need for Senate approval. Executive agreements cover a wide range of issues, similar to treaties, but they do not create binding legal obligations and are not subject to the same level of scrutiny as treaties.

In most cases, executive agreements are used for issues that do not require the same level of legal obligation as treaties, such as exchange of notes, mutual understandings, or cooperation agreements. They are often used to facilitate cooperation and communication between countries in areas such as trade, investment, and cultural exchange.

One example of an executive agreement that the Philippines has signed is the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States. The MDT is a pact between the two countries that aims to strengthen their defense cooperation in case of external armed aggression against either country.


In summary, treaties and executive agreements are two different types of international agreements that have distinct characteristics and implications. Treaties are more formal and binding, requiring approval from the Senate, while executive agreements are less formal and not binding. Nevertheless, both types of agreements play a crucial role in the Philippines` international relations and can help promote cooperation and mutual understanding among nations.