Strong Signals: DICT Issues Common Tower Policy to Push ICT Registration and Deployment

The DICT has issued the long-awaited common tower policy to both regulate and promote common towers in the Philippines. The issuance, formally titled Department Circular No. 008 or the “Policy Guidelines on the Co-Location and Sharing of Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure for Macro Sell Sites”, include guidelines on the registration, maintenance, and other requirements for interested Independent Tower Companies and Mobile Network Operators. The Lexology article by Villaraza & Angangco’s Maria Concepcion P. Simundac and Mark Benjamin. C...

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COVID-19-Related FDA Issuances on Donations, Advertisements, Health Products, Medical Devices and Equipment

By: Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Glaiza Narvacan In an effort to warn against misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and pursuant to its mandate to protect and promote the right to health of the Filipino people, the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines FDA released a number of issuances pertaining to COVID-19. A summary of the FDA circulars, advisories and press statement is provided below: Donated Health Products FDA Circular No. 2020-009 and its amendments [1] provides guidelines on the identification, notification...

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Can Virtual Hearings Work In Domestic and International Arbitration in the Philippines?

The Firm’s Augusto San Pedro, Jr. and Rashel Ann C. Pomoy explore the legality and practicability of virtual hearings in both domestic arbitration and international arbitration seated in the Philippines, especially with the travel restrictions and social distancing measures imposed during the COvid-19 pandemic. The article can be accessed in the link below: https://www.lexology.com/ library/detail.aspx?g= aa2e4bb2-c157-46af-b98c- b73cc87f4d0d #arbitration #philippines #virtualhearings #remotehearings ...

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Philippine Chapter of The Legal 500: Employment & Labour Law Comparative Guide

Villaraza & Angangco is pleased to have contributed the Philippine Chapter of The Legal 500: Employment & Labour Law Comparative Guide. In this chapter, our lawyers, Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro, Rashel Ann C. Pomoy, Paolo Miguel Consignado, and Efren II R. Resurreccion, provide their insights on the legal framework and key issues affecting termination of employment in the Philippines. The article may be accessed here: https://www.legal500.com/guides/chapter/philippines-employment-labour-law/ #TheFirmatForty #Labor #Employment #COVID19 #Termination #Dismissal #Philipp...

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In Due Course: The Race to Find a Cure Against Covid-19

By: Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Glaiza Narvacan In a bid to strike a balance between saving lives and reviving the economy, a number of countries have begun to ease lockdown measures [1] . In the Philippines, for instance, many parts of the country have already been moved to a more relaxed form of community quarantine, allowing selected industries to resume operations and permitting limited movement of people [2] . But while the relaxation of restrictions has been much anticipated, many approach this new phase with worry [3] given the fact that we will be...

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Roadmap to the New Normal: Reopening Workplaces in the Philippines During a Pandemic

The article Roadmap to the New Normal: Reopening Workplaces in the Philippines During a Pandemic , written by the Firm’s Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro , Rashel Ann C. Pomoy , and Deanna Carmelli L. Go , guides businesses in reopening the workplace, post enhanced community quarantine. The article discusses the Interim Guidelines issued by Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry on the health and safety protocols for reopening the workplace, and identifies possible roadblocks to a smooth transition to the new normal. Read the article ...

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A Recap of COVID-Related SEC Issuances For Publicly Listed Companies

By: Kristin Charisse Siao and Marie Kristine F. Reyes As the Philippines enters a new four-tiered quarantine classification and as the lockdown on specific industries eases inch by inch in Metro Manila, many Publicly Listed Companies “PLCs” are slowly reopening their doors back to normal operations after a two-month period of temporary setbacks. In this article, we recap the issuances of the Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” in response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on the compliance requirements of PLCs, in an effor...

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Add to Cart: Taxing the Digital Economy in the Philippines

By: Kristin Charisse C. Siao , Mely Ann Emerie A. Cristobal , and Raymond John S. Cheng The people in the Philippines are the heaviest internet users in the world. 1 At 10 hours and 2 minutes a day, Filipinos’ average daily internet use far exceeds the global daily average of 6 hours and 42 minutes. 2 It should thus come as no surprise that the country’s digital economy is currently valued at about US$3.2 billion 3 and is projected to grow to US$25 billion in 2025. 4 In the past few years, a growing number of consumers have preferred to...

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Landlords vs. Tenants: A Legal Outlook on the Philippine Leasing Industry

By Kristin Charisse C. Siao , Ma. Carla P. Mapalo and Amber Shawn A. Gagajena The declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines and of different levels of community quarantine, including the Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” over the entire Luzon and in certain parts of Visayas and Mindanao due to COVID-19, has severely affected the livelihood of many Filipinos and the operation of numerous businesses. Their capacity to comply with rental obligations has, thus, been significantly diminished. In this...

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POSITIVELY NEGATIVE: LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS OF COVID-19 TESTING IN THE PHILIPPINES

By: Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Renson Louise C. Yu The Covid-19 pandemic started to rear its head in the latter part of 2019, right before the close of the previous decade. Curiously and just in time, early in 2019, Republic Act No. 11332, otherwise known as the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” was enacted to replace the 90-year old 1 “Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases” Act No. 3573 . Republic Act No. 11332 has the general objective of “protecting the pe...

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THROUGH THE NEEDLE'S EYE: DEVELOPING A VACCINE FOR COVID-19

By: Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Maria Patricia Cruz The COVID-19 Situation and the Search for a Vaccine The rapid and continued spread of COVID-19 1 has rendered imperative the development of a vaccine to combat the disease. Toward this end, various collaborative efforts, typically transcending national lines, have been launched. 2 As of May 8, 2020, at least 95 vaccines related to COVID-19 are being explored. 3 However, as with most vaccines, it would take some time before a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and approved because the r...

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Going Viral: Seeing Possibilities Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic

By: Bienvenido Somera, Jr. , Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Glaiza Narvacan Over the last few months, we have witnessed how the coronavirus pandemic brought global society to an indefinite pause, subjecting people from all walks of life to extraordinary, at times drastic, lifestyle changes. With vaccines still under development, the end of the pandemic, albeit eventual, is not yet in sight. But while its effects have been mostly bad and ugly, it cannot be denied that some good have resulted from the changes brought about by this international health crisis. Whether...

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Insolvency and Rehabilitation in the Philippines during the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Augusto A. San Pedro , Jr., Fritzzie Lyn F. Español and Ivan Viktor N. Mendez With rapid speed, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global economy to an unprecedented and unforeseen magnitude. The measures imposed to mitigate the widespread effect of COVID-19 has put the global economy to an abrupt halt. Based on the half-yearly forecasts of the International Monetary Fund, dramatic drop in activity caused by the global lockdowns is expected to result in a 3% contraction of the global economy, resulting in a potential slump unparalleled since the Great Depre...

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The Red Tape Surrounding Emergency Response: Procurement at a Time of Emergencies

By: Thea T. Daep , Raquel Wealth A. Taguian , Monica Leonila B. Siron In the Philippines, as in most jurisdictions, the policy of the government is that procurement of goods, infrastructure projects, and consulting services shall be competitive and transparent and hence, shall undergo competitive public bidding, save for certain situations where alternative modes of procurement are allowed under the law. ¹ This policy is embodied in Republic Act No. “RA” 9184, or the “Government Procurement Reform Act,” which took effect o...

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DOLE and DTI Interim Guidelines on Workplace prevention and Control of COVID-19

As the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” draws near, the Department of Trade and Industry “DTI” and the Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” teamed up to release their Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19. Check out V&A Law's Infographics on the key features of the Guidelines to build your own playbook to reopening the workplace. ...

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The Price for Overpricing Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies Amid COVID-19

By: Ma.Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Jan Eidrienne De Luis The year 2020 has been off to a rough start for the Philippines. With the eruption of the Taal Volcano in January and the COVID-19 pandemic reaching Philippine shores shortly afterwards, the demand for N95 masks seemed to have reached an all-time high. The increased demand for these particulate respirators resulted in a shortage of supply and a surge in prices up to a level where government price regulation had to be in place. Since January 31, 2020 a price freeze has been imposed by the Departm...

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Philippine FDA Issues Advisory on Varying Specifications and Use of COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kits

by Ma. Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Glaiza Narvacan In its recent issuance, the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines “FDA” reports that the agency has approved sixteen 16 COVID-19 Rapid Antibody test kits for commercial use as of 16 April 2020. The FDA stated in its Advisory No. 2020-671 “Advisory” that these test kits, which detect the presence of antibodies against the novel coronavirus in an individual’s blood or serum, have technical specifications and validation techniques that are unique from each other a...

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NPC and DOH Release Joint Statement on Processing and Disclosure of COVID-19 Related Data

by Ma. Sophia Editha C. Cruz- Abrenica and Renson Louise C. Yu In National Privacy Commission “NPC” Public Health Emergency “PHE” Bulletin No. 11, the NPC and the Department of Health “DOH” reiterated the importance of the accurate disclosure of COVID-19 patients’ personal data in the fight against the pandemic. They stated that not only will this help in contact tracing and the management of the disease, but it will also allow front liners to adopt the necessary measures to protect themselves. However, in order f...

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Unpacking the work-from-home concept in Philippine Labor Law

by Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro , Rashel Ann C. Pomoy and Paolo Miguel Consignado The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a shift in paradigm in how work is done in the Philippines. Whereas before long hours of stay in the office was the norm, the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” forced employers of non-essential industries to recognize that work can be done even outside the office premises, such as through Work-From-Home “WFH” arrangements. These WFH arrangements have been widely embraced and are expected to linger even after the...

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Dispute Resolution Law Guide 2020

Villaraza and Angangco is featured in the LexisNexis Dispute Resolution Law Guide 2020. Through this feature, the Firm's Alejandro Navarro , Augusto S. San Pedro , Thea Daep-Laurena and Joseph Anthony Lopez provide answers to crucial questions in the field of Dispute Resolution. Please click here for the full article. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. ...

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Searching the World's Medicine Cabinets: Patentability of Potential COVID-19 Treatments from Old Medications

By: Ma. Sophia Editha C. Cruz-Abrenica and Maria Patricia P. Cruz The coronavirus disease 2019 COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus the source of which has yet to be elucidated. The first case of COVID19 was recorded in Wuhan, China in December 2019. As of April 24, 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed 2,591,015 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 178,686 deaths.1 Of these, the Philippines reported 7,192 confirmed cases, including 477 deaths, 762 recoveries, and 5,953 hospital admissions.2 Governmen...

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BIR Further Extended the Deadlines for Filing of Document/Returns and Payment of the Corresponding Taxes

By Villaraza & Angangco Despite being the lifeblood of the government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue “BIR” further extended the deadlines to file returns or documents and/or to pay the corresponding taxes required under Tax Code pursuant to the extension of the quarantine period throughout the Philippines until 15 May 2020. Please find below the extended deadlines for your reference: Particulars BIR Form Name of Form ...

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Navigating the Delicate Balance of Employee Rights and Employer Prerogatives on Temporary and Permanent Closures and Lay-Offs Under Philippine Law

As the Philippines reels from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no clear end in sight for the “new normal” of prolonged community quarantines, employers are faced with difficult decisions which may have adverse effects on their workforce. Through the article Navigating the Delicate Balance of Employee Rights and Employer Prerogatives on Temporary and Permanent Closures and Lay-Offs Under Philippine Law, written by the Firm’s Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro, Rashel Ann C. Pomoy, and Efren II R. Resurreccion, the Firm’s COVID-19 legal response team...

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Quarantine Zones: Governmental Power to Take Over Private Properties

by Karla Regina D. Valera-Chua and Joseph Anthony P. Lopez On 8 March 2020, in response to the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus in the Philippines, the President of the Philippines declared a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines. Several days later, on 16 March 2020, the President declared a State of Calamity and imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine for one month throughout Luzon, the largest island in the country which houses Manila, the heart of the economy. This was then extended for two 2 weeks. Subsequently, Republic Act No. 11469, other...

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Building a Robust Mental Health Policy for Workplaces in the Philippines in a COVID-19 World

by Joseph Anthony P. Lopez , Ruth Nichole C. Ureta and Rashel Ann C Pomoy The Covid-19 pandemic has affected more than 2 million people and killed over 150,000 worldwide as of the time of this writing, according to the World Health Organization. As the world shifted during the last months, businesses are scrambling to mitigate losses and return to normalcy. Understandably, businesses tend to focus on keeping their workers physically healthy to become productive at work, including supporting social distancing with the technology needed to work from home, to new hygiene st...

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Two-Pronged War of PH Frontliners: COVID-19 and Medical Liability

by E laine A. Atienza , Noel Kris E. Illescas , Joseph Anthony P. Lopez and Dianne Marie V. Roa-Oarde On 28 March 2020, a person under investigation for COVID-19 passed away after having spent eleven 11 hours in a tent outside one of the major hospitals in the Philippines waiting for admission. Under normal circumstances, this may have easily led to a medical malpractice suit against the attending physician s , if any, and the hospital itself. However, the conditions in the hospital that day were far from normal. In a statement to the media, the hospital&rsquo...

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The Interplay between Private Social Distancing Measures by Residential Subdivisions and Condominium Corporations and the Possible Government Overreach Response

by Juan Paolo Miguel B. Leido and Joseph Anthony P. Lopez Since the outbreak of COVID-19, social distancing or physical distancing has been a key measure encouraged and implemented by public health officials around the world to limit the spread of the virus. It is, quite simply, the deliberate increasing of physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. The most recent medical advisories have described it as a set of measures that prescribes maintaining at least two 2 meters from other people, and generally avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings. ...

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Suspension of Tax Assessment/Collection for Companies Severely Economically Impacted by Enhanced Community Quarantine

by J oseph Anthony P. Lopez , Fritzzie Lyn F. Español , Dianne Marie V. Roa-Oarde and Via Monica C. Valdepenas Following the imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine ECQ in Luzon, the largest island housing its capital, Metro Manila, the Philippine government enacted Republic Act No. 11469, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, declaring a state of national emergency and granting the President special powers to mitigate local transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 COVID-19 . Among its salient features is the authority granted to the President ...

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Duty of Care and Medical Negligence in Telemedicine

by Kristin Charisse C. Siao and Maria Patricia P. Cruz Telemedicine Defined In its Statement on the Ethics of Telemedicine, the World Medical Association defined telemedicine as “the practice of medicine over a distance, in which interventions, diagnoses, therapeutic decisions, and subsequent treatment recommendations are based on patient data, documents and other information transmitted through telecommunication systems.” Simply, telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to remotely provide health or medical care. Medical advice thro...

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IPOPHL Issues Revised Rules on Voluntary Licensing

by Ma. Sophia Editha Cruz-Abrenica and Glaiza Narvacan The Philippine Intellectual Property Code “IP Code” is clear in its intention to encourage technology transfer and prevent or control practices and conditions that may amount to an abuse of intellectual property rights, which will in turn have adverse effects on competition and trade Sec. 85, IP Code . In this regard, the IP Code devotes a whole chapter on voluntary licensing, particularly Sections 85-92, which provide requirements that technological transfer arrangements should conform to. For further g...

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Distancing from confusion in Philippine labor law compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro , Rashel Ann Pomoy , and Efren II Resurreccion On the evening of 16 March 2020, the President of the Philippines declared that an enhanced community quarantine “ECQ” was to be imposed on the island of Luzon. Effective from 12:00 a.m. of 17 March 2020 to 12:00 a.m. of 1 May 2020, the ECQ is a key government measure for addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the ECQ, only private establishments providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production, operating on a strict skeleta...

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COVID-19 and Business Interruption Insurance in the Philippines

by Augusto A. San Pedro, Jr. and Dianne Marie V. Roa-Oarde Beginning at midnight of 17 March 2020, the entirety of Luzon including Metro Manila has been placed on an Enhanced Community Quarantine that is presently set to be lifted only at the end of this month unless otherwise extended. All mass public transport services and domestic flights have been suspended. Strict movement limitations have been imposed on consumer households. Private establishments or businesses, except hospitals, pharmacies, banks and those involved in providing basic necessities and activities relat...

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BCCP & V&A Law Host Webinar to Guide Employers on Labor Law Compliance under the Enhanced Community Quarantine

On 21 April 2020, the British Chamber of Commerce - Philippines “BCCP” in partnership with Villaraza & Angangco the “Firm” hosted the Webinar: Distancing From Confusion in Labor Compliance: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers. Addressing a video room of over seventy 70 attendees composed of high level executives, legal staff and human resources managers from all over the Philippines, the Webinar featured a comprehensive study and review of the rapidly evolving regulations, advisories and proclamations of the different government agencies rega...

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NPC issues bulletin on COVID-19-related apps, digital tools and solutions

In National Privacy Commission “NPC” Public Health Emergency “PHE” Bulletin No. 8, the NPC advised personal information controllers developing COVID-19-related apps, digital tools and solutions to ensure, even from the design stage, that their product’s design, functionalities, personal data collection and extent of processing must never deviate from the purpose of using collected information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. Once said purpose is achieved, the personal data processing must stop, while the collected and generated personal data must be dispos...

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11th Edition of the Employment Law Review

For the second year running, Villaraza & Angangco prepared the chapter of the Philippines in the 11th Edition of the Employment Law Review published by editor Erika C. Collins on April 2020. The firm joined an expert panel of esteemed lawyers from forty-four 44 different countries to provide global readers with insights on the rapidly eveolving regulations affecting labor and employment law. The Philippine chapter was authored by the Firm’s Managing Partner, Atty. Alejandro Alfonso E. Navarro, senior Associate, Atty. Rashel Ann C. Pomoy, and Junior A...

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Ensuring Enhanced Operations for BPO Companies and Export Enterprises, and Their Service Providers, Throughout the Extended Enhanced Community Quarantine Period

The Department of Trade and Industry DTI issued guidelines to facilitate the enhanced operations of Business Process Outsourcing “BPO” companies, export enterprises, and their support service providers “Covered Enterprises” following the Philippine Government’s directive to extend the Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” to 30 April 2020. Under DTI Memorandum Circular No. 20-14, series of 2020, “DTI MC 20-14” , BPO companies and their support service providers are allowed to perform the following activities throug...

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FURTHER EXTENSION OF DEADLINES GIVEN BY BIR FOR VARIOUS TAX RETURNS

The Bureau of Internal Revenue “BIR” further extends the deadline to file and pay various tax returns following the Philippine Government’s directive to extend the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” until 30 April 2020. Revenue Regulations No. 10-2020 “RR No. 10-2020” amends Revenue Regulations No. 7-2020 “RR No. 7-2020” and moves the deadline of over forty 40 transactions and documents due to the BIR for the months of March and April. The various tax returns include the following: VAT payment and re...

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ECCP & V&A Law Host Webinar on Navigating Labor Law Issues under the Enhanced Community Quarantine

On 7 April 2020, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines “ECCP” in partnership with Villaraza & Angangco the “Firm” hosted the Webinar: Deep Dive: Navigating Labor Law Issues under the Enhanced Community Quarantine. Designed to help navigate the rapidly evolving regulations, advisories and proclamations of the Department of Labor and Employment, the Webinar was delivered to a video room of over ninety 90 attendees composed of high level executives, legal staff and human resources managers from all over the Philippines. ...

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Summary of Bureau of Immigration Advisory dated 19 March 2020

The Bureau of Immigration “BI” shall operate with skeletal workforce to service outbound passengers departing the Philippine territory during the Enhanced Community Quarantine “ECQ” . Under the BI Advisory dated 19 March 2020, aliens whose visas shall expire during the implementation of the ECQ may file an extension within thirty 30 days from lifting of the ECQ. Except for outbound passengers intending to depart the Philippines, the following transactions shall be temporarily suspended at BI offices located in Luzon: 1. Filing of applications for...

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DOLE Advisory No. 20-04

The Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” has suspended the processing of Alien Employment Permits “AEP” until further notice. Under Advisory No. 20-04 dated 23 March 2020, the DOLE will not impose penalties or administrative fines on all soon to expire AEPs or AEPs that expired during the suspension period, and the filing of said AEP applications will be treated as renewals. Further, all new AEP applications of foreign nationals whose employment contracts are effective during the suspension period or the fifteen 15 days grace period already ...

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Guidelines on Attendance and Participation in Board and Stockholders/Members' Meetings Through Remote Communication

Under Memorandum Circular No. 6, Series of 2020, dated 12 March 2020 “MC No. 6-20” issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” , the SEC prescribed the guidelines on attendance and participation in board and stockholders/members’ meetings through remote communication. For board meetings of directors or trustees, directors or trustees can participate and vote through remote communication e.g., videoconferencing, teleconferencing, or other alternative modes of communication allowing them reasonable opportunities to participate ,[1] b...

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GIS IN THE MIDST OF CORONA

To try to give corporations a reprieve during the COVID-19 outbreak and consequent community quarantine measures imposed by the government, the Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” issued Memorandum Circular No. 9, Series of 2020 on 18 March 2020 the “Memorandum” providing for the guidelines for submission of the General Information Sheet “GIS” for the annual stockholders’ meeting for stock corporations or annual members meeting for non-stock corporations to elect its directors, trustees or officers scheduled to be held between 01 March 2...

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Extension for Filing the 2019 Annual Income Tax Returns and Payment of Annual Income Taxes

The Bureau of Internal Revenue released yesterday Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 29-2020 "RMC" extending the deadline for the filing of various returns and payment of taxes. Among the most notable extensions for filing and payment are the following: 1. Filing and Payment of Quarterly income Tax Return for Corporations, Partnerships and other non-Individual Taxpayers for fiscal quarter ending 31 January 2020 – extended to 30 April 2020 2. Filing of Annual Information Return of Income Taxes Withheld on Compensati...

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DOLE Advisory No. 09-2020 - Flexible Work Arrangements

On 4 March 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” issued Labor Advisory No. 09, Series 2020, which provides the Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure Due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 COVID-19 “Guidelines” in order to assist and guide employers and employees in the implementation of the various work arrangements as alternative coping mechanism and remedial measures. Under the Guidelines, the following flexible work arrangements or schedules may be considered, among ot...

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Chambers Global Practice Guide: Patent Litigation (Philippines)

The Firm is pleased to have contributed to the 2020 edition of the Chambers Global Practice Guide on Patent Litigation. The Philippine chapter, which provides guidance on important topics on patent law and practice, such as rights and granting procedure, remedies, alternative dispute resolution, assignment and licensing was authored by V&A lawyers Bienvenido I. Somera, Jr., Ma. Sophia Editha C. Cruz-Abrenica, Mark Leo P. Bejemino and Glaiza F. Narvacan. All twenty-two 22 chapters of the Global Practice Guide representing various jurisdictions worldwide, are available f...

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Getting Comfortable with the Safe Spaces Act

A Look into the Salient Provisions of Republic Act No. 11313 and its IRR By Winona Maraiah M. Fajardo, Associate, Villaraza & Angangco In a move to address modern ways of committing gender-based sexual harassment “GBSH” and other acts of sexual abuse not covered under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act” , Republic Act No. 11313, otherwise known as the “Safe Spaces Act” or more commonly known as the “Bawal Bastos Law,” took effect on 03 August 2019, while its implementing...

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DOLE issued Guidelines on the Payment of Final Pay and Issuance of Certificate of Employment

On 3 February 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” issued Labor Advisory No. 6, Series of 2020, which provides the Guidelines on the Payment of Final Pay and Issuance of Certificate of Employment issued by the Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” . Under DOLE Labor Advisory No. 06, Series of 2020, the DOLE now requires that final pay of an employee be released within thirty 30 days from the date of separation or termination of employment, unless there is a more favorable company policy, individual, or collective agreement there...

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DOLE released Guidelines on Prevention and Control of 2019-nCoV at the Workplace

The Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” released Labor Advisory No. 04 series of 2020 entitled Guidelines on 2019 Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Prevention and Control at the Workplace , which outlines specific measures that employers must undertake to prevent and control the possible spread of the 2019-nCoV. The key features of Labor Advisory No. 04 are as follows: I. Coverage Labor Advisory No. 04 is applicable to all employers and workers in the private sector. II. Workplace Health...

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SEC Implements GIS Amendment, Beneficial Ownership Information Now Required

By: Maria Concepcion P. Simundac and Winona Maraiah M. Fajardo In November 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC issued a memorandum revising the General Information Sheet GIS form, requiring the submission of beneficial ownership information in the annual GIS. The SEC sought to implement the Anti-Money Laundering Act AMLA and the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act TFPSA through the new measure. However, implementation of the amended form was deferred. Last July 26, 2019, the SEC issued Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 2019 am...

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The Inauguration of PhilEnergy was held in Jakarta, Indonesia

MANILA, Philippines, Sept. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Informa Markets and UBM Exhibitions Philippines Inc. have officially launched PhilEnergy: Towards Energy Security and Sustainable Development on September 11, 2019 at the Jakarta International Expo in Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/inauguration-philenergy-held-jakarta-indonesia-020000745.html ...

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An Apostille A Day: Guidelines in the Application of the Apostille Convention to Philippine Documents

By: Villaraza & Angangco Partner Maria Concepcion P. Simundac and Associate Marie Kristine F. Reyes The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirements of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents , or commonly known as the Apostille Convention entered into force in the Philippines on 14 May 2019. Previously, the Philippines acceded to the Convention on 12 December 2018. As of 14 May 2019, the Philippines became an Apostille-contracting country, joining 116 other countries and paving the way for the greater simplification of the process of authentication ...

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Easing Doing Business, as Promised

By: Villaraza & Angangco Partner Maria Concepcion P. Simundac and Associate Marie Kristine F. Reyes Salient Points in The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11032 otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 The Implementing Rules and Regulations “IRR” of Republic Act “R.A.” No. 11032 was issued on 17 July 2019 with the aim of simplifying requirements and procedures that will reduce red-tape and expedite business and nonbusiness related transactions in gov...

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BIR Clarifies the Provisions to be Included in RMC No. 050-2018

On 11 May 2018, the Bureau of Internal Revenue “BIR” issued Revenue Memorandum Circular “RMC” No. 050-2018 to address the frequently asked questions “FAQs” related to the income tax and withholding tax provisions of the TRAIN Law and its subsequent implementing revenue regulations. However, certain FAQs were included which were not actually part of the TRAIN Law nor its implementing revenue regulations. In view of the foregoing, the BIR deleted the queries on group health insurance premiums Q7/A7 and director’s fees Q34/A34 from RMC No. 0...

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Philippine Securities Regulator Now Requires Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership

The Securities and Exchange Commission SEC now requires disclosure of beneficial owners of shares of stock in Philippine corporations. Corporate shareholdings have always been disclosed through the annual General Information Sheet, but prior to the issuance of SEC Memorandum Circular No. 17 dated November 27, 2018, disclosure of shareholders with legal title over the shares of stock was sufficient. This new Circular is intended to further tighten anti-money laundering regulations and prevent the use of corporate structures for money laundering and terrorist financing. Significantly, t...

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Easing Restrictions on Foreign Participation: The Philippine 11th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List

By: Maria Concepcion P. Simundac and Mandy Therese M. Anderson On 29 October 2018, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, signed Executive Order No. 65, Series of 2018 promulgating the Eleventh Regular Foreign Investment Negative List 11th FINL . The 11th FINL takes effect fifteen 15 days from its publication in the Manila Bulletin on 30 October 2018, or on 14 November 2018. It has been three 3 years since the issuance of the Tenth Regular Foreign Investment Negative List 10th FINL by then President Benigno S. Aquino I...

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Procuring Infrastructure PPPs 2018 (Assessing Government Capability to Prepare, Procure, and Manage PPPs)

Villaraza & Angangco’s Senior Partner Franchette M. Acosta and Senior Associate Paul B. Imperial contribute to the The World Banks’ publication Procuring Infrastructure PPPs 2018 Assessing Government Capability to Prepare, Procure, and Manage PPPs . The report is available online at http://bpp.worldbank.org/ and athttps://pppknowledgelab.org/. The following hyperlinks may be used to directly download the PIP3 2018 Executive Summary and PIP3 2018 Full Report. Highlights of the report may also be read in the following blog: http://blogs.worldbank.org/ppps/why-we-need...

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Importers and Customs Brokers Are No Longer Required to Obtain BIR Clearance

The Department of Finance, through Department Order No. 011-2018, removed the Bureau of Internal Revenue Import Clearance Certificate and Brokers Clearance Certificate BIR-ICC/BCC requirement for importer and customs broker accreditation. The authority to accredit and register importers and customs brokers is reverted solely to the Bureau of Customs BOC to simplify the accreditation process. The BIR is no longer accepting applications for the BIR-ICC/BCC and the BOC has already published the new requirements for accreditation of importers and customs brokers on its official ...

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Guidelines for the Handling of Complaints Filed Against Health Maintenance Organizations

The Insurance Commission IC has issued Circular Letter CL No. 2018-14 which provides the guidelines for handling complaints filed against Health Maintenance Organizations HMOs . The guidelines provide that: 1. All complaints filed against an HMO received by the IC, including its district offices, shall be: a. Endorsed to the Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines' AHMOPI grievance machinery involving their members; or b. Endorsed to the Philippine Association of Health Maintenance Organization Companies, Inc...

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Insurance Companies are Mandated to Submit the Particulars of Reinsurance Treaties

The Insurance Commission IC is now requiring the submission of the particulars of reinsurance treaties. All authorized insurance companies doing business in the Philippines are mandated to submit to the IC a duly accomplished Particulars of Reinsurance Treaty form within three 3 months from the effectivity of any new treaty or changes in the existing treaty. The form for the Particulars of Reinsurance Treaty is provided in Circular Letter No. 2018-13. The full text of CL No. 2018-13, including the Particulars of Reinsurance Treaty form, is available here . ...

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Guidelines on the Infusion of Real Property to Cover Net Worth Deficiencies and Capital Impairment of Insurance Companies

The Insurance Commission IC issued Circular Letter CL No. 2018-12 which provides the rules governing the infusion of real property to cover net worth deficiencies and capital impairment of insurance companies. Under CL No. 2018-12, whenever the paid-up capital or net worth of an insurance company doing business in the Philippines is found to be less than the amount required under the Insurance Code, and before said company shall exercise its option to cover its deficiency/ies in the form of non-cash contributions, said company's president must first certify under oath that all effo...

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Rules on Licensing Requirements During the Pendency of a Merger or Consolidation of Insurance Companies

On January 25, 2018, the Insurance Commission IC issued Circular Letter CL No. 2018-11 which provides the following rules in relation to licensing requirements during the pendency of a merger or consolidation of insurance companies: a. From the notification of the intent to merge or consolidate until such time that the existing Certificates of Authority of the concerned domestic insurance companies are surrendered pursuant to Section 13 of CL No. 2015-11 dated 18 March 2015, the concerned companies shall maintain their respective Certificates of Authority in order to be a...

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Tax Base in Sale of Real Property

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 19-2018 which mandates that Revenue District Officers RDO are not authorized to consider the prior mortgage value of a property as basis for computation of Capital Gains Tax CGT and Documentary Stamp Tax DST in sales transactions, especially when such mortgage values are higher than the present zonal or fair market value. RDOs are required to follow the provisions of law and use either the selling price, zonal value, or fair market value as shown in the schedule of values of the Provincial or City Assessor, whi...

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Legal Updates - Vietnam

RHTLaw TaylorWessing Vietnam, a member of the ASEAN Plus Group, recently released a compilation of legal updates on commercial and tax laws in Vietnam, a rapidly growing market in the ASEAN region. A copy of the compilation is available here . ...

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DICT Issues Policy Guidelines For the Entry of a New Major Player in the Public Telecommunications Market

On 08 January 2018, the Department of Information and Communication Technology DICT issued its “Policy Guidelines for the Entry of a New Major Player in the Public Telecommunications Market”, pursuant to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order that a new major player in the telecommunications industry should be able to enter the market at the end of the 1st quarter of 2018. Memorandum Order No. 001 Series of 2008 has been issued by the DICT in order to address the need to improve telecommunication services all over the country given that there are currently o...

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Timing for Notification under the PCC Rules on Merger Procedure

By: Franchette M. Acosta, Senior Partner, Villaraza & Angangco E: fm.acosta@thefirmva.com l http://www.thefirmva.com The Philippine Competition Commission published its Rules on Merger Procedure on 23 November 2017. These Rules will take effect 15 days after publication. Significantly, the Rules revise the prescribed timing for filing the required transaction notice under the Philippine Competition Act. Under the law, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures satisfying transaction thresholds must be notified prior to consummation. Relevant thresholds include ...

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RECENT ISSUANCES OF THE GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT POLICY BOARD (GPPB)

GPPB Circular No. 04-2016 Published on 20 October 2017 GPPB Circular No. 04-2016 e xplains negotiated procurement under the Emergency Cases modality which may be resorted to in the following instances: 1. In case of imminent danger to life or property during a state of calamity; 2. When time is of the essence arising from natural or man-made calamities; or 3. Other causes where immediate action is necessary to prevent damage to or loss of life or property, or to restore vital public services, infrastructure facilities and other public u...

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Tax Identification Number is a Requirement for One-Time Transactions

The Bureau of Inter Revenue BIR recently issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 90-2017 which formally requires the donee s in donor’s tax transactions, heir s in estate tax transactions, and buyer s in sales of shares of stock to obtain a Tax Identification Number TIN prior to their application for an Electronic Certificate Authorizing Registration eCAR . The TIN requirement is a mandatory field in the eCAR System. Thus, taxpayers may no longer contest the BIR in requiring a TIN for these transactions for the reason that the same is not listed as a requirement....

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PAGCOR's Tax-Exempt Status Extends to Other Entities

In Perception Gaming, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue CTA EB Nos. 1315 and 1356, 7 July 2017 , the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc held that Perception Gaming, Inc.’s PGI lease of gaming machines and rendition of related technical services to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation PAGCOR and to PAGCOR-Authorized Bingo Operators are effectively subject to zero percent 0% value-added tax VAT . The Court cited Section 13 2 of the PAGCOR Charter which provides that three 3 entities shall enjoy exemption from taxes: 1 PAGCOR; 2 corporations w...

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Age Discrimination in the Workplace Prohibited

The Department of Labor and Employment DOLE issued Department Order DO No. 170, Series of 2017, promulgating the Implementing Rules and Regulations IRR of Republic Act RA No. 10911, otherwise known as the “Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act”. The law seeks to promote equality in the workplace by mandating companies to hire workers based on their competence, and not on their age. The IRR apply to all employers, publishers, labor contractors or subcontractors, and labor organizations, whether or not registered. Unlawful Acts A. It sh...

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Joint Venture Agreements with Philippine Local Government Units as Public-Private Partnership Modality

By: Franchette M. Acosta, Senior Partner, Villaraza & Angangco E: fm.acosta@thefirmva.com l http://www.thefirmva.com The Duterte Administration is poised to fund its aggressive infrastructure program internally and through official development assistance. In reaction to the shift in paradigm, the PPP Center has announced an intention to refocus public-private partnership on projects of local government units LGUs . Considering the broad powers of LGUs to promote the general welfare of its constituents, PPP at the local level has much potentia...

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Casinos Are Now Covered By The Anti-Money Laundering Act

Republic Act No. 10927 expanded the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 AMLA to include land, ship and internet-based casinos with respect to their casino cash transactions that are related to gaming operations. Casino cash transactions are transactions which involve the payment of cash by casinos to their customers or to any person acting on behalf of a customer and the receipt of cash by casinos paid by or on behalf of a customer. The AMLA now covers single casino cash transactions amounting to more than Five Million Pesos P5,000,000.00 or its equivalent i...

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Non-Life Insurance Companies May Invest In Real Properties

With a view of enhancing the capital build up program of insurance companies and to provide a new investment option for non-life insurance companies, the Insurance Commission IC allows non-life insurance companies to invest in real properties. IC Circular Letter No. 2017-43 provides the guidelines for non-life insurance companies which will invest in income-producing real properties, other than those utilized as their main place of business or offices. Only non-life insurance companies with a minimum net worth of Five Hundred Fifty Million Pesos PhP550,000,0...

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The 2017 Rules of Procedure of the Philippine Competition Commission

On 11 September 2017, the Philippine Competition Commission PCC , through Commission Resolution No. 20-2017, approved and adopted its 2017 Rules of Procedure. The rules apply to investigations, hearings and proceedings of the PCC, except to matters involving mergers and acquisitions, unless otherwise provided in the issuances and guidelines governing the same. The rules took effect on 30 September 2017. The copy of the rules can be downloaded at the PCC website, www.phcc.gov.ph . ...

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In-House Community Online Update/Client Alert: Update on Data Privacy Law Compliance in the Philippines

Automated Decision-Making Operations, Institutions Likely to Pose Threats to Data Subjects and Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Registration with the NPC By Franchette M. Acosta, Senior Partner, Villaraza & Angangco Email: fm.acosta@thefirmva.com On 31 July 2017 the National Privacy Commission NPC issued a Circular to further clarify the implementing rules and regulations of the Data Privacy Act. The Circular will take effect upon full compliance with publication requirements. Under the Data Privacy Act and its rules, all Personal Information C...

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The Japanese Overseas Investment Report

SECTION 1: Market outlook 1.1 How would you summarise your jurisdiction’s attitude towards the influence of Japanese corporate culture in its industries? Over the years, the Philippines has proven to Japan its ability to be an effective platform for opportunities in trade and investments for Japanese companies. Japan has been the Philippines’ most generous donor of official development assistance for the past 23 years. Because of this symbiotic relationship, Japanese corporate culture is not only seen as desirable but is also perceived as vital to ...

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No Withholding Taxes on Income Payments Made to LGUs

In the recently decided Court of Tax Appeals CTA case of Conal Holdings Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue CTA Case No. 9099, 17 July 2017 , Conal Holdings Corporation Conal filed a Petition for Review praying for the cancellation and withdrawal of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s BIR deficiency assessment in the aggregate amount of Php291,875,839.72, which arose from Conal’s alleged failure to withhold taxes on the purchase of two 2 diesel power plants and machineries from the City Government of Iligan. The BIR based its assessment on Sect...

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Department of Labor and Employment Department Circular No. 01-2017: Clarifying the Applicability of Department Order No. 174-2017

On 13 June 2017, the Department of Labor and Employment DOLE issued Department Circular DC No. 01 to clarify the applicability of Department Order DO No. 174, series of 2017 which regulates contracting and subcontracting agreements. The DOLE clarified that DO No. 174 only applies to trilateral relationships between the principal, subcontractor, and the employee which characterize contracting or subcontracting arrangements. DO No. 174 does not cover information technology-enabled services involving an entire or specific business process such as Business Process Outsourci...

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THE V&A GUIDE TO PHILIPPINE COMPETITION ACT

FRAMEWORK OF PHILIPPINE COMPETITION POLICY Prior to the passage of the Philippine Competition Act, regulation of monopolistic or anti-competitive acts was not centralized. With the recent passage of the Philippine Competition Act, a more level playing field for business can be expected from a more comprehensive, centralized, and consistent approach against anti-competitive behavior. To achieve this, the Philippine Competition Act regulates or prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and mergers and acquisitions that prevent or restrict com...

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Asean Plus Group Newsletter Q2 2017

CLick Here for the Newsletter - Issue 3, Q2 2017 ...

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ENDO The Line: The New DOLE Department Order No. 174 And The Rules On Contractualization

The Department of Labor and Employment “DOLE” issued on 16 March 2017 the new Department Order “D.O.” No. 174, Series of 2017 which revisited the existing rules and regulations implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code on contracting and subcontracting. D.O. No. 174 effectively supersedes D.O. No. 18-A which was issued in 2011. The regime under D.O. No. 174 provides stricter guidelines for contractors. Among the notable changes is the increase in the requirement of substantial capital of contractors from Three Million Pesos PhP 3,000,000...

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SEC MC No. 4, Series of 2017: Term Limit of Independent Directors

The Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” has issued SEC MC No. 4, Series of 2017 to provide the guidelines for the term limit of independent directors. The term limit of independent directors of registered issuers, public and mutual fund companies shall be as follows: A company’s independent directors shall serve for a maximum cumulative term of nine 9 years ; After which, the independent director shall be perpetually barred from re-election as such in the same company, but may continue to qualify as a non-independent director ; ...

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5th Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit Philippines

The 5th Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit Philippines was conducted at the Dusit Thani Hotel last 31 March 2017. With a theme “Unraveling the New Philippines: Heightened Optimism. Surging Investment”, the Summit featured speakers from several government agencies, including the SEC, DPWH and NEDA, as well as from several private business real estate groups. The speakers pointed out that that the current Philippine environment is ripe for the investment into Real Estate Investment Trusts “REIT” with numerous catalysts supporting the same. Howe...

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Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas ("BSP") CIRCULAR NO. 944, Series of 2017 Guidelines for Virtual Currency ("VC") Exchanges"

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “BSP” issued Circular No. 944, Series of 2017 or the “Guidelines for Virtual Currency Exchanges” the “Circular” . Virtual currency “VC” refers to any type of digital unit that is used as a medium of exchange or a form of digitally stored value created by agreement within the community of VC users. The Circular reiterates that VCs are not issued nor guaranteed by any jurisdiction and do not have a legal tender status. The Circular covers exchanges in the Philippines, offering services or enga...

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2017 Investment Priorities Plan

On 28 February 2017, President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea signed Memorandum Order No. 12 approving the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan “IPP” . Under the 2017 IPP, preferred activities for investment are listed with particular focus on micro-, small-, and medium-scale enterprises “MSMEs” , manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries, and drug rehabilitation. Innovation-drive, health, and environment-conscious activities are also given priority. The 2017 IPP will consider as preferred activities the following investme...

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Jose M. Roy III vs. Securities and Exchange Commission, et al. G.R. No. 207246, 22 November 2016

The Supreme Court, in a recent case entitled “Jose M. Roy III vs. Securities and Exchange Commission, et al.” , docketed as G.R. No. 207246 and promulgated on 22 November 2016, upheld the validity of SEC Memorandum Circular No. 8 Series of 2013 “SEC MC No. 8-2013” , which prescribes the guidelines in determining compliance with the foreign equity restriction in nationalized activities. Under SEC MC No. 8-2013, the required percentage of Filipino ownership mandated by the 1987 Constitution shall be applied to both a the total number of the outstanding shares of ...

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PCC Memorandum Circular No. 16-003

The Philippine Competition Commission “PCC” issued Memorandum Circular No. 16-003, dated 22 December 2016, prescribing the filing fees to be paid by the acquiring entity for notification and review of mergers or acquisition meeting the notification threshold under the Philippine Competition Act. For the first phase of the review, the filing fee of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos PhP250,000.00 shall be paid upon submission of the Notification Review. Upon the announcement by the PCC of its decision to proceed to a second phase review, the filing fee ...

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Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Law

On 27 July 2015, the Philippine Congress passed into law Republic Act No. 10870 or the “Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Law” which seeks to regulate the country’s credit card industry by placing credit card issuers and acquirers under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipnas “BSP” . The BSP is granted authority to issue rules of conduct and standards of operation of the credit card industry and to impose penalties in case of non-compliance therewith. The BSP is likewise granted the authority to determine the reasonableness of fees and cha...

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PPP Listing and Disclosure Rules

On 8 December 2016 the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. issued the Supplemental Listing and Disclosure Riles Applicable to a PPP Company “PPP Listing and Disclosure Rules” as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The PPP Listing and Disclosure rules allows for and provides the process for the application for listing under the Philippine Stock Exchange. This option is granted to corporations which were awarded a PPP contract or a special purpose company incorporated by the awarded corporation or awarded joint venture or consortium which shall assume and accede to ...

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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION AND BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE ISSUANCES (JULY-AUGUST 2016)

SEC Memorandum Circular No. 8, 28 June 2016 SEC Memorandum Circular No. 8 amended further ICA Rule 35-1 d 4 , as amended by SEC Memorandum Circular No. 12, series of 2013, providing exemption from the 5% liquidity requirement of mutual fund index trackers: “ ICA Rule 35-1 d 4 For liquidity purposes, unless otherwise prescribed by the Commission, at least five percent 5% of an open-end company fund shall be invested in liquid/semi-liquid assets such as: A Treasury notes or bills, Certificates of Indebtedness issued by the Bangko Sentral ng P...

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