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Capital Markets, Listed Entities & M&A

PCC Issues Guidelines for the Operations of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during GCQ and MGCQ

On 16 July 16 2020, the Philippines Competition Commission (“PCC”) approved and released the Interim Guidelines on the Operations of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during the General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine. These guidelines outline the conduct of activities and processes of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during the General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine to comply with the minimum public health standards and ensure the safety of PCC employees and stakeholders

Philippines | Capital Markets, Listed Entities & M&A | 25 July 2020
Company Registration and Transactions with the SEC During the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted guidelines as a response to the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) all over Luzon by reason of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most transactions with the SEC, which include applications for company registration and submission of required reports, can be made online.

Philippines | Capital Markets, Listed Entities & M&A | 28 April 2020
PCC Suspends Merger Process and Timelines Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has suspended certain activities in view of the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the Philippine government in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. The quarantine was announced in the evening of 16 March 2020, and is currently scheduled to end on 14 April 2020.

Philippines | Capital Markets, Listed Entities & M&A | 06 April 2020

Control Measures

Updates on the Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

On 22 March 2020, the Philippines closed its borders to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Foreign Affairs restricted the entry of foreign nationals and suspended visa-free privileges and the issuance of entry visas. Recently, the Philippines has opened up its economy and eased its movement restrictions. Following this direction, on 16 July 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force (“IATF”) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 56 allowing the entry of foreigners starting 1 August 2020 subject to some conditions.

In another development, the IATF on 14 July 2020 issued Resolution No. 55-A reclassifying community quarantine status of different areas of the country until 31 July 2020.

Philippines | Control Measures | 25 July 2020
Makati City Government issues General Community Quarantine Guidelines

On 29 May 2020, Makati City Mayor Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay issued Executive Order No. 11, which approved the 2020 General Community Quarantine Guidelines for the City of Makati effective 1 June 2020. While Makati City is also covered by the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, the Makati City Government is empowered to issue localised guidelines for its territorial jurisdiction.

Philippines | Control Measures | 13 June 2020
The Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

On 22 May 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 38 which further revised and clarified the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of the Community Quarantine in the Philippines that was issued on 15  May 2020.  Key modifications were made with respect to industries allowed to operate within a particular community quarantine area, interzonal movement of persons, and grace period for the payment of loans, among others.  On 27 May 2020, the IATF adopted a reclassification of the community quarantine for certain areas beginning 1 June 2020.

Philippines | Control Measures | 02 June 2020
The Revised Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

After the implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") for two months in Luzon and other high-risk areas, the Philippine Government has gradually started easing restrictions and has begun transitioning to the "new normal".  On 30 April 2020, the Philippines President issued Executive Order No. 112), which adopted the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 30 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines ("Omnibus Guidelines") and granted the IATF the authority to modify the Omnibus Guidelines without need of further approval of the President.  On 15 May 2020, the IATF issued the Revised Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.

Philippines | Control Measures | 22 May 2020
DFA, BI Suspend Transactions Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

In view of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Department of Foreign Affairs ("DFA") and the Bureau of Immigration ("BI") imposed a suspension on certain visa-related transactions.

Philippines | Control Measures | 28 April 2020
Imposition of Price Freeze and Enumeration of Establishments Allowed to Operate during the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Department of Trade and Industry issued various circulars in line with the Philippine government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These circulars address various measures taken by the government including the imposition of price freeze or price control, measures against panic buying and hoarding, and granting of grace period for rent due on residential and commercial leases. The circulars also address the movement of cargo and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared under the Memorandum issued by the Executive Secretary on 16 March 2020.

Philippines | Control Measures | 21 April 2020
Philippine Legislature Grants the President Temporary Emergency Powers to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

On 8 March 2020, the President of the Philippines declared a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19. Following the continued rise of COVID-19 cases, the President, on 16 March 2020, declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines and imposed an Enhance Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) throughout Luzon from 17 March 2020 until 12 April 2020, which was subsequently extended until 30 April 2020.

The imposition of the ECQ resulted in the suspension of all classes, prohibition of mass gatherings, observance of strict home quarantine in all households with the exception of accessing basic necessities, closure of private establishments except those providing basic necessities, and suspension of mass public transport, among others.

Philippines | Control Measures | 21 April 2020

Dispute Resolution

Supreme Court Announces the Resumption of Court Operations Nationwide

On 29 May 2020, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ("SC") directed the resumption of court operation in the country with the easing of movement restrictions and placing most parts of the country under general community quarantine ("GCQ"). The SC also announced that the hearings through videoconferencing shall continue in GCQ-affected areas.

Philippines | Dispute Resolution | 13 June 2020
Supreme Court Suspends Operations of Courts and Issues Rules on Online Filing of Complaint or Information and Posting of Bail

In line with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") measures by the National Government, the Philippine Supreme Court ("SC") has ordered the physical closure and suspension of operations of all courts, except for urgent matters.  The SC has also issued rules of procedure for the online filing of complaints or informations in criminal cases, posting of bail, and pilot testing of hearings in criminal cases involving persons deprived of liberty ("PDLs") through videoconferencing. In line with the extension of the ECQ over certain areas (including the National Capital Region), the SC has also extended the effectivity of these measures until May 15, 2020.  Separate guidelines were also issued for courts located in areas placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).  These are provided in SC Administrative Circulars Nos. 35-2020 and 36-2020, both issued on 27 April 2020.

The SC also issued guidelines on reduced bail and recognizance as modes for releasing indigent PDLs during the period of public health emergency pending the resolution of their cases.  These are provided in SC Administrative Circular No. 38-2020 issued on 30 April  2020. 

Philippines | Dispute Resolution | 07 May 2020

Financial Institutions

BSP Grants Relief Measures to Manage the Financial Impact of COVID-19, Temporarily Suspends Administrative Proceedings, and Issues Guidelines for the Implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (“BSP”) Monetary Board has approved the granting of relief measures to BSP-supervised financial institutions (“BSFIs”) to enable them to extend the same relief measures to their clients, borrowers, and employers in view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) imposed by the Philippine government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. The BSP also temporarily suspended proceedings of administrative cases at the BSP’s Office of the General Counsel and Legal Services-Investigation and Prosecution Group due to the Luzon-wide ECQ. It likewise directed all BSFIs to comply with Section 4(aa) of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

On April 24, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until May 15, 2020.

Philippines | Financial Institutions | 14 May 2020

Support Measures

BIR Adopts Fast-track Measures and Removes the Requirement of Submission of Photocopies of Documents Evidencing Credit Extensions and Credit Restructurings

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) has issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 071-2020 to circularise the advisory for the adoption of fast-track measures during the COVID-19 state of calamity issued by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (“ARTA”) through ARTA Advisory No. 01, Series of 2020 (“Advisory”). The Advisory applies to all government offices and agencies including local government units, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and other government instrumentalities, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, that provide services covering business and nonbusiness-related transactions. The suggested measures include extending the validity of permits, licenses, certifications, and other similar authorisations that are expiring within the period of the State of National Emergency.

BIR has also issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 072-2020 to remove the requirement of submission of photocopies of documents evidencing credit extensions and credit restructurings granted by covered institutions during the enhanced community quarantine.

Philippines | Support Measures | 25 July 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission provides options for the submission of Reports, Applications, and Other Documents

Based on a notice issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") dated 24 June 2020, in light of the imposition of community quarantine in the National Capital Region due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous need to comply with social distancing requirements and other public health measures in the receiving, processing and submission of documents, the covered companies (i.e., investment companies, registered issuers of proprietary and non-proprietary shares/timeshares, public companies, corporate governance institutional training providers and publicly-listed companies under the supervision of the Corporate Governance and Finance Department are advised to file or submit their reports, applications, requests, compliance, and other documents to the SEC, via courier services or  electronic email, or both courier services and electronic email.

Philippines | Support Measures | 09 July 2020
Cebu City Under Enhanced Community Quarantine; Makati City Allows Payment of Realty and Business Taxes Online

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and pursuant to Resolution No. 46-A of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, the local government of Cebu City, through Cebu City Executive Order No. 082 dated 17 June 2020 (“Order”), has imposed an enhanced community quarantine (“ECQ”) over its territory. Pursuant to the Order, a mandatory stay-at-home order is enforced for all residents. Travel and movement outside homes of residents of Cebu City shall be limited only to accessing basic necessities and services. Only one member of the household is allowed to leave the home. The travel and movement restrictions do not apply to several groups of residents including medical practitioners and health workers, emergency personnel, and authorised national and local government officials and employees.

In another development, the local government of Makati City announced on 17 June 2020 that the second-quarter payments for real property taxes and business taxes can be made online through this website: https://makationlinepayments.com/.

Philippines | Support Measures | 01 July 2020
BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued several circulars and regulations to, among other things, further extend the deadlines for the filing of documents and payment of taxes, as well as suspend the assessment and collection of deficiency taxes due to the various ongoing quarantine restrictions in the Philippines.

Philippines | Support Measures | 24 June 2020
DTI Issues Guidelines on Refund Concessions for Events Affected by the State of Public Health Emergency

The Department of Trade and Industry issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-30 to provide economic relief to all persons and businesses who scheduled events that were cancelled or scaled-down in view of the public health emergency and social distancing measures imposed by the government

Philippines | Support Measures | 24 June 2020
BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") previously issued Revenue Regulations No. 007-2020, as amended by Revenue Regulations No. 010-2020, extending the deadline for the submission and/or filing of certain documents and/or returns as well as payment of certain taxes. On 29 April 2020, BIR issued Revenue Regulations No. 011-2020  further extending the deadlines to submit, file and/or pay the necessary documents and/or taxes required under the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, as well as in the existing revenue regulations.  The extension of due dates is applicable throughout the Philippines. 

Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
Extension of Deadlines of Payment Obligations and Submission Requirements, and Implementation of Other Measures to Provide Relief to Electricity Consumers

The Department of Energy ("DOE") extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, such as those due to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the National Power Corporation (NPC), the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO), the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) and the Independent Electricity Market Operator (IEMOP), and also directed public and private corporations in the energy supply chain to extend the payment deadlines of their customers.  The DOE also issued guidelines for the remittance and utilization of host community funds for a targeted COVID-19 response and directed the grant of relief to electricity consumers, both individual and corporate.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) also extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, and also the submission of certain documents, and directed other energy sector participants to similarly extend certain payment deadlines.  It temporarily suspended the collection of the feed-in tariff allowance (Fit-All) and granted interim relief to the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) that will effectively reduce the transmission tariff borne by electricity consumers.

Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
Control and Support Measures in the Philippines Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 16 March 2020, the Philippine President declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six months and imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") throughout Luzon (the biggest island in the Philippines where Metro Manila is located) until 12 April 2020.  The ECQ was subsequently extended to 30 April 2020. 

In order to optimise the government’s efforts in responding against the health and economic costs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act ("Act").  The Act granted the President certain emergency powers and the authority necessary to carry out urgent measures, including the authority to direct the operation of privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities, and ensure availability of essential goods, among others.  The Act also authorised and prioritised the augmentation of the operational budget of government hospitals, calamity funds, and budget of various social amelioration programs. 

On 24 April 2020, the Philippine President announced the extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora which is under general community quarantine), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and other high-risk areas in Luzon until 15 May 2020. Moderate-risk and low-risk areas in Luzon will be placed under general community quarantine starting 1 May 2020. The President also placed some areas in Visayas and Mindanao under ECQ.

Philippines | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
BIR Eases Procedures and Provides Reliefs Including those that are Related to Needed Healthcare Equipment in View of the ECQ

The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") has extended deadlines, suspended assessment and collection of deficiency taxes, and exempted the importation of needed healthcare equipment or materials from certain taxes and duties in view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") imposed by the Philippine government in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.  The quarantine was announced in the evening of 16 March 2020 and was scheduled to end on 30 April 2020.  On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.

Philippines | Support Measures | 28 April 2020

Workplace & Employment

DTI and DOLE issue Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19

On 14 August 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry ("DTI") and the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") released Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 or the Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 ("Supplemental Guidelines"). This issuance shall apply to all private establishments, regardless of economic activity, including those located inside special economic zones and under the jurisdiction of Investment Promotion Agencies. 

The Supplemental Guidelines introduce new measures intended to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 08 September 2020
DOLE Issues Guidelines on Processes and Proceedings Before the Labor Offices in Areas Under Community Quarantine

On 5 May 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") issued DOLE Department Order No. 213 series of 2020 which suspended the reglementary periods to file pleadings, motions, and other actions, and interrupted the prescriptive periods for the commencement of actions for areas placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") and General Community Quarantine ("GCQ"). However, given the extension of community quarantine measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, and in the interest of labor, DOLE issued Department Order No. 214 series of 2020 which provides for the lifting of the suspension of the reglementary periods and interruption of prescriptive period for areas placed under community quarantine excluding places under ECQ, MECQ, and total lockdown.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 24 August 2020
DOLE & BI Resume Operations under General Community Quarantine

On 1 June 2020, the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") was lifted and Metro Manila was placed under General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 June 2020.

On 29 May 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") announced that under the GCQ, it will resume the processing of all Alien Employment Permit ("AEP")-related applications through its newly launched online AEP portal. AEPs which expired during the ECQ may be renewed within 45 working days after the lifting of the community quarantine without penalty. As part of its COVID-19 mitigation and containment efforts, DOLE issued its guidelines on the online submission of documentary requirements for AEP applications.

 On 1 June 2020, the Bureau of Immigration ("BI") also lifted the previous suspension of all visa-related transactions, including the filing for the application or extension of 9(a) Visa, 9(g) Visa, and visa downgrading. However, under the GCQ, all applicants are required to reserve an appointment online for all visa-related transactions; otherwise, they will not be allowed to enter the BI premises.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 13 June 2020
DOLE and DTI Issue Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Private Establishments Allowed to Operate during the ECQ and GCQ

The whole of Luzon has been under an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") since 17 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.  On 30 April  2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 112 which approved the extension -- until 15 May 2020 -- of the ECQ over Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON (comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and other high-risk provinces.  Moderate and low-risk provinces, meanwhile, were placed under a less-stringent General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 May 2020.   

On 30 April 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued interim guidelines to assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the ECQ and GCQ in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 07 May 2020
DOLE Suspends Alien Employment Permit Processing and Allows Deferment of Payment of Holiday Pay for April 2020

In light of the enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") implemented in the Luzon Region due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the processing and issuance of alien employment permits (AEP) and allowed employers to defer the payment of holiday pay to employees.  The ECQ was implemented on 16 March 2020 and would be in effect until 30 April 2020.  On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 28 April 2020

Useful Resources

COVID-19 - gov.ph
Department of Health
Government Website
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Labor and Employment
Philippine Economic Zone Authority
Department of Foreign Affairs
Securities and Exchange Commission


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