Legal Market Overview in Philippines
The Philippine government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ programme has sought to improve poor infrastructure and congested roads in the country. The construction sector has entered a period of growth, and local and international bidders in Asia and beyond have participated in the tender processes for major infrastructure projects. The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector remains strong in the Philippines, though there are some concerns about the future of the industry in the age of AI and automation. Elsewhere, the mining sector has experienced a downturn, while there has been a renewed interest in renewable energy; positive news for the country, which has traditionally been dependent on coal. Antitrust is a burgeoning area in the Philippines, following the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act in 2015 and the establishment of the Philippine Competition Commission in 2016. Many law firms in the country are already handling the merger control aspects of corporate transactions, with some also developing notable expertise in anti-competitive conduct and abuse of dominance. Foreign firms are prohibited from practising Philippine law, and the market is dominated by large and well-established Philippine firms. Key names include Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw), Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano, Quisumbing Torres and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan. Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra is a newer player in the market but has quickly carved out a space for itself, particularly in corporate and M&A, capital markets and TMT. On the international firms front, a number of global players are active in the Philippines and across the region more broadly, and are able to assist on US, English, and other international law aspects of cross-border transactions involving Philippine entities and assets.