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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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Legal Developments in Philippines

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2017

    The World Bank Group has released Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2017. The report presents data on legal barriers for farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses operating in agriculture in 62 countries and across the topics of land, seed, fertilizer, machinery, water, livestock, finance, markets, transport, and information and communication technology (ICT). SyCipLaw's  Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez ,  Alan C. Fontanosa ,  Franco Aristotle G. Larcina  and  Ruben P. Acebedo II  contributed to the report.
  • Ending "Endo"

    “Endo” is the twin brother of the drug monster that also needs to be slain, so says the Duterte administration.  “Endo” is layman’s term for end of employment contract.  It is the date indicated on the employment contracts and is dreaded by employees as it means the end of his or her employment.  Read more...

    Antitrust laws, also referred to as “competition laws”, are statutes developed to protect consumers from predatory business practices by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy. Competition laws regulate and prohibit several questionable business activities such as market allocation/ de facto monopoly whereby companies agree to steer clear of each other’s identified geographical market or territories; bid rigging whereby conspiring entities manipulate the market with a view of retaining current market share and price for each entity; and price fixing whereby two or three entities agree on the same selling price. Competition laws are designed to maximize consumer welfare by regulating or preventing business activities which stifle competition.  Read more...
  • 10 Questions Investors Need to Ask Before Investing in the Philippines

    (1)What are the different forms of investment one can use?
  • Geothermal Transparency Guide

    SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) contributed the Philippine chapter of Icelandic law firm BBA’s handbook called the Geothermal Transparency Guide . The publication is intended to provide an overview of the legal and regulatory framework governing exploration, exploitation and production of electricity from geothermal resources. The Philippine chapter was contributed by SyCipLaw partners  Hector M. de Leon, Jr.  and  Angel M. Salita, Jr.
  • FAQs on Foreign Investments in the Philippines

    Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) on investing in the Philippines, such as choosing the right corporate vehicle, the allowed areas of investment, tax incentives, and other key information:  Read more...
  • The International Capital Markets Review - Edition 6 - Philippine Chapter

    The sixth edition of The International Capital Markets Review is already available. The Philippine chapter outlines governing laws, legislative bodies, and recent jurisprudence, and also contains information on recent developments in relevant laws and regulations, especially those affecting debt and equity offerings and those affecting derivatives, securitizations and other structured products. The chapter was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Maria Teresa D. Mercado-Ferrer , senior associate  Joan Mae S. To  and associate  Jo Marianni P. Ocampo .
  • ALB: “Single Entry Approach: Mandatory Conciliation and Mediation of Labor Disputes”

    The July 2016 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) Asia Edition included a regional update article entitled “Single Entry Approach: Mandatory Conciliation and Mediation of Labor Disputes”, contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Marianne M. Miguel  and SyCipLaw Associate  Mary Grace L. Javier .
  • ABA: “Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Supreme Court of the Philippines, on the South China Sea Dispute

    The Fall 2015 issue of the American Bar Association (ABA) included an International Law News article entitled “Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Supreme Court of the Philippines, on the South China Sea Dispute” contributed by SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) Special Counsel  Albert Vincent Y. Yu Chang .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Renewable energy projects”

    The July/August issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “Renewable energy projects”. The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner  Rafael L. Encarnacion .

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