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Editorial

Overview

Following the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016, the Philippine market experienced a period of hesitation and a general slow-down in activity during the second half of 2016 in anticipation of economic reforms. Nevertheless, the economy remains robust and increased liquidity in the market has resulted in an uptake in financial activity and infrastructural development. Foreign investors continue to show an interest in the Philippines and inbound investment has steadily risen in the technology and energy sector, while domestic corporates are increasingly investing overseas.

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector remains one of the leading contributors to the Philippine economy, while developments within the energy sector remain a key source of instruction for lawyers across a range of practice areas. Renewables have become a major focus within the energy industry and several development projects are underway; the renewable energy expansion seeks to develop the country’s solar, hydroelectric and wind power capabilities, and is already boosting employment, economic growth, and foreign investment.

The legal market remains stable and a range of full-service firms continue to dominate the scene, including Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw), SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles, and Quisumbing Torres (a Baker McKenzie LLP correspondent firm).

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Legal Developments in Philippines

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  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: “More Philippine Data Privacy Act: Are you Ready for Phase II?”

    Controllers and processors who have completed Phase I registration with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will now have to gear up for Phase II. Phase II involves providing the NPC certain information on the organization’s compliance with the Data Privacy Act (DPA).
  • Getting the Deal Through: Appeals 2017

    The Philippine chapter of Getting the Deal Through: Appeals 2017 was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Ramon G. Songco and associate Kathleen Kay A. de Guzman . The chapter provides key insight into the appellate stage of dispute resolution in the Philippines.
  • The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Patents 2018

    The Philippine chapter of the International Comparative Legal Guide to: Patents 2018 was contributed by SyCipLaw partners Enrique T. Manuel and Vida M. Panganiban-Alindogan . The chapter answers key questions on patent enforcement, patent amendment, licensing, patent term extension, patent prosecution and opposition, border control measures, and antitrust laws and inequitable conduct. It also gives an overview on current patent developments in the country.
  • IBA Taxes Committee: “Developments in Philippine Tax Laws and Regulations”

    The International Bar Association’s (IBA) Taxes Committee published its annual update on tax developments by jurisdiction for 2017. The 2017 update includes a Philippine report by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan entitled “Developments in Philippine Tax Laws and Regulations”. The Philippine report summarizes recent updates related to tax treaty relief, passed-on gross receipts tax, alternative modes of paying taxes, reduction of real property tax on independent power producers, and case law, as well as upcoming tax reform developments.
  • ALB: “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”

    The August 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB)  includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner  Arlene M. Maneja entitled, “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”. The article summarizes the administrative, civil and criminal penalties that apply to companies that have yet to comply with the Philippine Competition Act (PCA). The transitional clause of the PCA to enable parties to renegotiate agreements or restructure their businesses to comply with the law expired on August 7, 2017.
  • CPO: “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO)”

    Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Magazine, an online publication owned by Data Privacy Asia, featured an article by SyCipLaw partner Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez . Entitled “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO) ”, the article discusses the qualifications and responsibilities of a DPO as outlined in the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012. It also outlines difficulties companies may experience in the appointment of a DPO.
  • ALB: “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines”

    The July 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan and associate Jo Margarette W. Remollo entitled, “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines ”. The article summarizes the Insurance Commission’s compliance guidelines on related party transactions, as set out in Insurance Circular Letter No. 2017-29. The Circular covers insurers, reinsurers, branch offices of foreign insurers, mutual benefit associations, pre-need companies, and health maintenance organizations and their intermediaries.
  • Philippines Chapter in The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5

    The Philippines section of The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5 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 .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”

    The April issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Hiyasmin H. Lapitan  entitled “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”. The article discusses the new requirement by the Philippine Insurance Commission (IC) for advance approval to acquire a stake in a Philippine corporation that is licensed as an insurance broker or reinsurance broker. This requirement is noted in the IC’s circular letter number 2017-09 dated February 14, 2017, which prescribes guidelines on the documentation requirements for acquiring a domestic insurance or reinsurance broker.
  • SyCipLaw Tax Bulletin: Philippine BIR Rules on Proper Tax Treatment of Passed-on Gross Receipts Tax

    On June 13, 2016, the then Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 62-2016 purporting to clarify the proper tax treatment of percentage tax or gross receipts tax (GRT) due on transactions covered by Sections 1211 and 1222 of the Tax Code which are shifted through contractual stipulations to borrowers/customers/clients (“passed-on” GRT). Banks, non-bank financial intermediaries performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 121 while financing companies and other financial intermediaries not performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 122. The effectivity of this circular was suspended on July 1, 2016 by the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue. However, on November 15, 2016, the suspension was lifted by RMC No. 127-2016 rendering RMC No. 62-2016 effective immediately.

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