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At Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano, Manuel Gonzalez advised Silay Solar Power on a PHP1.6bn term loan from Land Bank of the Philippines to partially finance the construction of a 25MW solar power plant in Silay. Other clients include Century Pacific Group. Rosalia Bartolome-Alejo and Mark Vergara are also recommended.

Jose Mirasol is the supervising partner in charge of Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles’ banking and finance practice, which includes Reynaldo Geronimo, Juan Tan, Ronaldo Ventura and Ronald Policarpio. Clients include ING and Bank of China.

The ‘very reliable, extremely hardworking’ team at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan is ‘technically very sound’. Led by of counsel Mia Gentugaya, its clients include Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Credit Suisse. The ‘very commercially minded’ Ken Ferrer is also recommended. Aaron Riturban made partner in January 2016.

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos advises on project financing, regulatory issues, and loan refinancings and restructurings. Clients include several high-profile Philippine banks and financial institutions.

Ramil Bugayong leads the practice at Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices, which acts for clients including Bank of Tokyo–Mitsubishi UFJ and Aboitiz Equity Ventures. Virginia Viray and Rachelle Diaz-Tan advised a group of lenders including ADM Capital on the $150m financing of the construction of an office complex.

Quisumbing Torres’ department counts Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Industrial Bank of Korea and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation among its clients. Felix Sy leads the team, which is active in project financing and the insurance sector.

Angelo Advincula and Samantha Dy-van de Loo lead the team at Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula, and are ably supported by Jorge Melo and Antero Caganda. Between April 2015 and March 2016, Lily Gruba assisted Asia United Bank Corporation with over $554m-worth of loans to various borrowers.

Eusebio Tan leads the team at Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw), which also includes Andre Navato, Jr. It acts for international lenders, including Rabobank.

Polo Pantaleon, Mel Macaraig and Alvin Geli are the key partners at Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose, which acts for clients including Deutsche Bank, Asian Development Bank, Nomura International (Hong Kong) and International Finance Corporation.

The team at Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio advised International Finance Corporation and Development Bank of the Philippines on a bid to operate and maintain the LRT Line 2. Jaime Gatmaytan leads the practice, which includes Norma Patacsil.

Sylvette Tankiang and Franchette Acosta head the practice at Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law); Tankiang is particularly active in financing renewable energy transactions. The team advised Aboitiz Equity Ventures as sponsor on the financing of the construction of the Manolo Fortich hydroelectric power plant.

Ma Carmen Agcaoili-Oreña leads the banking practice at Agcaoili & Associates, supported by Jose Agcaoili and Enrique Parungo. Clients include Asia United Bank, Banco de Oro Universal Bank and ING Bank.

Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim’s clients include funds such as Grepa Mutual Fund and MAA Mutualife Philippines, and insurers including Paramount Life & General Insurance Corporation and Prudential Guarantee & Assurance Corporation. Carlos Ocampo is the key contact.

The corporate group at Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra & Sison handles banking and finance matters and securities regulation. Enrique Quiason leads the team. Eileen Pangalangan-Pardo and Ruelito Soriano are recommended.

Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako’s banking practice is particularly strong on the contentious side. It also assists clients with syndicated loans and loan restructuring, and is notably active in transactions involving banks’ non-performing assets. Jocelyn Esguerra-Dee is the key partner.

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Legal Developments in Philippines

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  • 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.
  • Philippine Court of Appeals Denies Issuance of Environmental Protection Order Against Mining Company

    In a decision issued on March 8, 2017, the Philippine Court of Appeals (CA) denied the petition by NGO Ang Aroroy ay Alagaan, Inc. and certain individuals, for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan against Filminera Resources Corporation, and its directors and officers. The petitioners have claimed that Filminera, which operates in the Philippine province of Masbate, had been causing environmental damage in the conduct of its mining operations in violation of local law, and that a writ of kalikasan should be issued.
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: Philippine Central Bank Issues New FinTech Rules

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (the Philippine Central Bank) has issued two new circulars that will be of interest to companies engaged in remittance services, e-money, digital currency, and other fintech businesses. Both circulars amend portions of the BSP Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions.
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”

    The March issue of the International Financial Law Review ( IFLR ) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Jose Florante M. Pamfilo  entitled “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”. The article discusses the Philippine Supreme Court decision on the case of Roy v. Herbosa (GR no. 207246) to invalidate the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular no. 8-2013 (MC 8-2013) on the guidelines on compliance with the Filipino-foreign ownership requirements prescribed in the Philippine Constitution and/or existing laws by corporations engaged in nationalized and partly nationalized activities.
  • Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All

    The World Bank Group has released its Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All report. This is the 14th in an annual series of reports providing objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement in 190 economies. The report focuses on measuring regulations affecting 11 areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labor market regulation.

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