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Editorial

Overview

The Philippine electorate made waves in May 2016 by electing Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency. But for all his controversial social policies, there are certainly reasons for investors to be optimistic: the 71-year-old is an avowed enemy of red tape, and has pledged to support infrastructure and PPP projects. Foreign investors are also showing an interest in areas such as education, technology and healthcare, while Philippine corporates, which are growing in size and sophistication, are beginning to invest overseas.

Capital markets activity has been heating up since Duterte’s ascension in June; there have been several offshore offerings by Philippine issuers, but most buyers have been Philippine corporates and high-net-worth Filipinos. Since Philippine banks are remarkably liquid and willing to lend, foreign banks have no significant presence in the country, however it has been speculated that domestic banks will soon approach their lending limits.

Following the introduction of a new competition law in July 2015, the Philippine Competition Commission investigated San Miguel’s sale of its telecoms assets to PLDT and Globe Telecom, a competition inquiry on a scale unprecedented in the Philippines.

Tax disputes have been a key talking point, largely due to the relatively aggressive approach of the previous tax commissioner, Kim Jacinto-Henares; observers anticipate that the number of tax-related disputes should come down under the new commissioner, Cesar Dulay.

Renewable energy, particularly solar and hydroelectric, are becoming prominent staples of the energy sector, although coal is responsible for servicing about a third of the country’s energy needs.

The Data Privacy Act, implemented in full in the summer of 2016, will have compliance-related repercussions for clients in the public and private sectors.

The larger domestic firms – most notably Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw), Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan – continue to provide strong service across various practice areas. Although foreign firms are not permitted to establish an office in the Philippines, some have associate or member firms based in Manila offices, such as Quisumbing Torres, which is Baker & McKenzie LLP’s correspondent firm in the Philippines.

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  • SyCipLaw advises lenders in Limay, Bataan power project

    SyCipLaw acted as local counsel to DBS Bank Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank, the structuring banks in the US$400 million Project Financing of a new 300MW coal-fired power plant in Limay, Bataan of SMC Consolidated Power Corp. The lenders to the project financing, in addition to the structuring banks were Bank of Commerce, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., Maybank International (Labuan Branch), Maybank Philippines, Inc., Siemens Bank GMBH (London Branch), INTESA San Paolo S.p.a. (Hong Kong Branch). The project financing was recognized as Best Power Deal in the Asia-Pacific Region in the 2015 IJ Global Awards.
  • Export Development Canada’s First 5 Calls: Philippines

    ExportWise magazine has published the “First 5 Calls” series on the Philippines. Published by Export Development Canada (EDC) for Canadian exporters and investors, ExportWise’s “First 5 Calls” series seeks to provide practical, on-the-ground advice from five market experts who each address a particular aspect of doing business in a certain country, such as legal and regulatory, market entry and distribution, customs, human resources, etc.
  • IFLR: “Philippines: New foreign investment rules”

    The April 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “New foreign investment rules.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Marietta A. Tibayan .
  • The Public-Private Partnership Law Review 2nd ed.

    The second edition of The Public-Private Partnership Law Review has been published. Each jurisdiction chapter contains information on general framework, bidding and award procedure, contract, finance, recent decisions, and outlook. The Philippine chapter was contributed by the SyCipLaw Partners  Marievic G. Ramos-Añonuevo  and  Arlene M. Maneja .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: New securities regulations”

    The March 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “New securities regulations.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Melyjane G. Bertillo-Ancheta .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: PPPs and the election ban”

    The May 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “PPPs and the election ban.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Aaron Roi B. Riturban .
  • The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 4 - Philippine Chapter

    The Philippines section of The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review 4th Edition  contains information on commencing disputes, including national and local taxes; courts and tribunals; penalties and remedies; tax claims, including recovering overpaid taxes, challenging administrative decisions, and claimants; costs; alternative dispute resolution; anti-avoidance; double taxation treaties; areas of focus; and outlook and conclusions. The section was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Carina C. Laforteza  with support from associate  Mark Xavier D. Oyales .
  • ALB SE Asia Law Awards 2016 Shortlist

    The ALB SE Asia Law Awards 2016 shortlist has been published. SyCipLaw is shortlisted for law firm of the year awards in arbitration, banking and financial services, commercial litigation, construction and real estate, energy and resources, and intellectual property. Six of the firm's transactions are also shortlisted for deal of the year awards.
  • Liability Management Exercise of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and affiliates

    SyCipLaw acted as Philippine counsel for the dealers, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in a back-to-back tender offer of perpetual securities and issuance of new perpetual securities.
  • Philippine Competition Commission Issues Transitory Rules for Mergers and Acquisition

    On February 12, 2016, the recently constituted Philippine Competition Commission (“PCC”), which was created under the Philippine Competition Act (Republic Act 10667 or the “PCA”), issued Memorandum Circular No. 16-001, Series of 2016 (the “Transitory Rules”), which provides for the transitory rules and guidelines relating to mergers and acquisitions that were, or are to be, executed or otherwise implemented after the effectivity of the PCA on August 8, 2015 but before the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations (the “PCA IRR”). Given the special nature of transactions effected through the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Transitory Rules will not cover such transactions and will be covered by a separate issuance by the PCC.

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