Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

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Step-by-Step Guide to Successfully Applying for a Spouse Visa in the Philippines

When it comes to applying for a spouse visa in the Philippines, it is important to understand the process and requirements involved. A spouse visa allows foreign spouses of Filipino citizens to enter and stay in the Philippines for an extended period. However, the application process can be daunting, with various steps and requirements to be fulfilled.

The 13(a) Non-Immigrant Visa by Marriage, also known as Conversion to Non-Quota by Marriage, allows a foreign national to stay in the Philippines based on their marriage to a Filipino citizen. This visa is granted according to Section 13(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 (PIA) and Foreign Service Circular No.21-10, and is available to citizens of countries that also grant permanent residence and immigration privileges to Philippine citizens.

This step-by-step guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the application process and help ensure a successful outcome. From eligibility requirements to document preparation and submission, this guide will cover everything you need to know to successfully apply for a spouse visa in the Philippines. Whether you are a first-time applicant or are looking for ways to improve your application process, this guide will serve as a helpful resource.

Determine Eligibility

Before proceeding with your spouse visa application, it is crucial to determine your eligibility. To qualify for a spouse visa in the Philippines, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Your spouse must be a Filipino citizen
  • You must be legally married to your Filipino spouse
  • You must have a clean criminal record
  • You must have an original valid passport

In addition to the basic requirements, there are additional requirements that may apply depending on your situation. For instance, if you were previously married, you will need to provide a copy of your divorce decree or annulment papers. If you are a widow or widower, you will need to provide a copy of your spouse's death certificate.

Furthermore, if your marriage was conducted in a foreign country, it must be valid under Philippine law. You may need to obtain an official translation of your marriage certificate and have it authenticated by the Philippine embassy in the country where the marriage took place.

It is also important to note that same-sex marriage is not recognized in the Philippines. Therefore, same-sex couples may not be eligible to apply for a spouse visa.

Overall, it is essential to review and understand the eligibility requirements thoroughly before beginning the application process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your eligibility, it is best to consult with a legal expert or the Philippine embassy for further guidance.

Gather Required Documents

When applying for a 13(a) Non-Immigrant Visa by Marriage in the Philippines, there are several documents that foreign nationals must gather. The first requirement is a joint letter request addressed to the Commissioner from the applicant and the petitioning Filipino spouse. This letter should state the intention to apply for the 13(a) visa and request its issuance.

Another important document is the duly accomplished CGAF (BI Form 2014-00-001 Rev 0). This form contains personal information about the applicant and the Filipino spouse, such as their full name, date of birth, address, and contact details. It also requires information about the applicant's previous travels to the Philippines, as well as their educational and employment background.

The applicant must also provide their Marriage Certificate or Marriage Contract, which proves their valid marriage to a Filipino citizen. In addition, the applicant must provide their Birth Certificate or a certified true copy of BI-issued Identification Certificate as a Filipino citizen of the Filipino spouse. This is to confirm the Filipino spouse's citizenship and to establish the legitimacy of the marriage.

A photocopy of the Filipino spouse's valid government-issued ID, such as their Passport, SSS/GSIS ID/PRC ID, Driver's License, TIN, or Voter's ID, is also required. This serves as a valid proof of identity for the Filipino spouse.

To prove the applicant's legal status in the Philippines, a photocopy of passport bio-page and latest admission with valid authorized stay must also be provided. Additionally, if the applicant has stayed in the Philippines for less than six (6) months, a valid Police Clearance from their country of origin or residence is required. If the applicant has stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more from the date of latest arrival, a National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Clearance or a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance is needed.

Lastly, a BI Clearance Certificate is required to confirm the applicant's good moral character and to ensure that they do not have any pending criminal cases in the Philippines. Foreign nationals can obtain the 13(a) Non-Quota Immigrant Visa/Marriage Visa in the Philippines through personal filing with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (if residing in the Philippines), hiring an accredited agency to process on their behalf, or personal filing with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate of their country of origin/residence.

By gathering all the necessary documents and fulfilling all the requirements, foreign nationals can successfully obtain a 13(a) visa, allowing them to stay in the Philippines indefinitely as long as they maintain the conditions of the visa, including having a valid marriage with a Filipino citizen.

Steps in Submitting the Application

When applying for a Philippine spouse visa, it's important to submit your application in the right place. You must submit your application directly to the Philippine Embassy or consular office located in your home country. Before submitting your application, be sure to double-check the requirements as they may vary slightly depending on which embassy or consular office you are submitting to.

Location of the Philippine Embassy

When applying for a Spouse Visa in the Philippines, you will need to submit your application to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI). Specifically, you will need to submit your application to the BI's Visa Extension Section, which is responsible for processing applications for all types of visas, including Spouse Visas.

To submit your Spouse Visa application, you will need to visit the BI's main office in Manila or one of its satellite offices in other parts of the Philippines. You will need to bring all the required documents with you, including your marriage certificate, your spouse's passport or national ID card, proof of financial support, and any other original documents that the BI may require.


The first step in the process is to apply for a visa at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's country of origin. The requirements and processing time for the visa application can vary depending on the type of visa being applied for. For example, the processing time for a 13A visa, which is a permanent residency visa for spouses of Filipino citizens, may take longer than a temporary visitor visa.

Once the visa application is submitted, it will undergo a review process, which may include an interview and background check. The applicant may also be required to submit additional documentation or undergo a medical exam.

After the review process is complete, the visa will either be approved or denied. If the visa is approved, the applicant will need to attend a visa interview at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate and may need to provide additional documentation.


The fees for applying for a Spouse Visa (or a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage) in the Philippines are as follows:

  1. Application fee: PHP 8,400 (approximately USD 168)
  2. Legal Research Fee: PHP 10 (approximately USD 0.20)
  3. Visa fee: PHP 3,120 (approximately USD 62.40)
  4. ACR I-Card fee: PHP 2,880 (approximately USD 57.60)

Please note that these fees for visa application are subject to change and may vary depending on the exchange rate at the time of payment. Additionally, there may be other fees and requirements depending on your specific case and the processing time may vary. It is recommended to consult with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Wait for Processing

Waiting for the processing of your Spouse Visa application can be a frustrating experience, but it's important to be patient and follow the proper procedures for following up with the BI. By doing so, you can increase your chances of a successful Spouse Visa application and start your new life with your spouse in the Philippines.

Processing time frame

After submitting your Spouse Visa application to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI), you will need to wait for the processing time frame. The processing time frame for applying for a spouse visa in the Philippines can vary depending on various factors, such as the type of visa being applied for, the completeness of the application, and the workload of the immigration office. Generally, the processing time frame for a spouse visa can take anywhere from 6 months to a year or longer.

Follow-up procedures

If your Spouse Visa application is taking longer than expected to process, you may need to follow up with the BI to check on the status of your application. You can do this by contacting the BI's Visa Extension Section directly or by visiting the BI's main office or one of its satellite offices.

When following up on your application, be sure to provide the BI with your application reference number and any other relevant information that they may require. You may also need to provide additional documentation or attend an interview if requested by the BI.

It's important to note that while you can follow up on the status of your Spouse Visa application, you should avoid contacting the BI excessively or making demands on the processing time frame. Doing so may delay the processing of your application or even result in its denial.


In conclusion, applying for a spouse visa in the Philippines can seem like a daunting process but with careful planning and attention to detail you can make it a much smoother experience. One of the most important steps is to make sure that you have all the required documents before beginning your application process. Additionally, make sure to review the timeline of processing times so you know exactly when your visa will be approved or denied.

Most importantly, remember to stay positive and patient throughout the entire process – great things take time! With effort, dedication, and faith in yourself, you can successfully apply for a spouse visa in the Philippines.

Landlord-Tenant Law in the Philippines: Rights and Obligations of Landlords and Tenants

Renting a property is a common arrangement between landlords and tenants in the Philippines. However, to ensure a smooth and harmonious relationship, it's crucial to understand the rights and obligations of both parties under the law. In the Philippines, the Rent Control Act of 2009 (RA 9653) governs the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, providing guidelines and protections for both parties. Let's take a closer look at the key rights and obligations of landlords and tenants under Philippine law.

Rights and Obligations of Landlords

Right to receive rent

As a landlord, you have the right to receive timely payment of the agreed-upon rent from the tenant, as stipulated in the lease or rental agreement. It's important to establish a clear understanding of the rent amount, due date, and mode of payment to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes.

Right to increase rent

While landlords are allowed to increase rent, it must be done in accordance with the law. RA 9653 provides guidelines on the allowable maximum rent increase and the frequency of such increases. It's essential to be familiar with these guidelines and follow them strictly to avoid any violations or legal issues.

Right to demand a security deposit

Landlords can demand a security deposit from the tenant, usually equivalent to one month's rent, as a form of security against damages or unpaid rent. However, the security deposit must be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease or rental agreement, less any deductions for damages beyond normal wear and tear. It's crucial to provide a written receipt for the security deposit and keep it properly documented.

Obligation to maintain the rental property

As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining the rental property in a habitable and safe condition. This includes ensuring that the property is structurally sound, has adequate utilities, and is compliant with building and health codes. Regular inspections and necessary repairs should be conducted to provide a safe and comfortable living environment for the tenant.

Obligation to respect tenant's privacy

Landlords are prohibited from entering the rental property without proper notice and consent from the tenant, except in cases of emergency or when the tenant has abandoned the property. It's important to provide reasonable notice before entering the property for inspections or repairs and respect the tenant's right to privacy and peaceful enjoyment of the rental property.

Rights and Obligations of Tenants

Right to peaceful possession

Tenants have the right to peacefully possess and enjoy the rental property during the term of the lease or rental agreement, as long as they comply with the terms and conditions of the lease or rental agreement. The landlord cannot interfere with the tenant's right to peaceful possession unless there is a legal basis for eviction.

Right to demand a receipt for rent and deposits

Tenants have the right to demand a receipt for any rent or deposit paid to the landlord. The receipt should indicate the amount paid, the purpose of the payment, and the date of payment. It's important for tenants to keep all receipts as proof of payment in case of any disputes or issues.

Obligation to pay rent on time

Tenants are obligated to pay the rent on time and in the manner agreed upon in the lease or rental agreement. Failure to pay rent on time may result in penalties or eviction. Tenants should prioritize rent payments and communicate with the landlord in case of any financial difficulties.

Obligation to take care of the rental property

Tenants are responsible for taking care of the rental property and using it only for its intended purpose. Any damages beyond normal wear and tear caused by the tenant may be deducted from the security deposit. It's important for tenants to report any damages or issues with the rental property to the landlord promptly and to seek permission before making any alterations or modifications.

Obligation to comply with rules and regulations

Tenants are obligated to comply with the rules and regulations set by the landlord or building management, such as noise regulations, waste disposal, and maintenance of common areas. Failure to comply with these rules may result in penalties or termination of the lease or rental agreement.

Legal Remedies for Landlords and Tenants

In case of disputes or violations of rights and obligations, both landlords and tenants have legal remedies available under Philippine law. These may include:

  1. Termination of lease or rental agreement: Both landlords and tenants have the right to terminate the lease or rental agreement in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the agreement or as provided by law. For example, landlords may terminate the lease for non-payment of rent or violation of lease terms, while tenants may terminate the lease for the failure of the landlord to maintain the rental property or provide essential services.

  2. Filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency: Both landlords and tenants can file complaints with the appropriate government agency, such as the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), for violations of the Rent Control Act of 2009 or other housing-related laws. The HLURB has the authority to mediate, conciliate, or adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants and impose penalties for violations of the law.

  3. Seeking legal assistance: Both landlords and tenants have the right to seek legal assistance from qualified lawyers or legal professionals to protect their rights and interests. Legal remedies may include filing a civil case for damages, specific performance, or eviction, or defending against wrongful eviction or harassment.


In conclusion, understanding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants is crucial for a smooth and harmonious landlord-tenant relationship in the Philippines. The Rent Control Act of 2009 provides guidelines and protections for both parties, ensuring that their rights are respected and upheld. Landlords have the right to receive rent, increase the rent within allowable limits, demand a security deposit, maintain the rental property, and respect the tenant's privacy. Tenants have the right to peaceful possession, demand receipts for payments, pay rent on time, take care of the rental property, and comply with rules and regulations.

Both parties have legal remedies available in case of disputes or violations of rights and obligations. It's essential for landlords and tenants to be aware of their rights and obligations under Philippine law and to seek legal assistance when necessary to protect their interests. By understanding and respecting each other's rights and obligations, landlords and tenants can build a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

Maternity and Paternity Leave: Understanding Family Leave Rights in the Philippines

In the Philippines, maternity and paternity leave are essential rights that provide employees with the opportunity to take time off from work to attend to family matters related to childbirth and childcare. These leave policies are regulated by laws and regulations, which aim to ensure that employees can balance their work and family responsibilities effectively. In this blog, we will delve into the details of maternity and paternity leave in the Philippines, including coverage, duration, benefits, eligibility, and other important information.

Maternity Leave in the Philippines

Maternity leave is a crucial benefit provided to female employees in the Philippines to support them during pregnancy and childbirth. Here are the key details of maternity leave:


Female employees who are pregnant, regardless of their civil status, are entitled to maternity leave. This includes regular employees, probationary employees, project-based employees, and other types of employment.


Female employees are entitled to a maternity leave of 105 days for a normal delivery and 120 days for a cesarean section (C-section) delivery. This can be extended for another 30 days without pay upon the employee's request, subject to approval by the employer.


During maternity leave, female employees are entitled to receive full pay, which is equivalent to 100% of their average daily salary, for the duration of their leave. This benefit is paid by the Social Security System (SSS) or the employer, depending on the circumstances. The SSS provides the benefit for employees who have paid at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period before the semester of childbirth. For those who are not eligible for SSS benefits, the employer is required to provide the maternity benefit.


Female employees must have paid at least three monthly contributions to the SSS within the 12-month period before the semester of childbirth to qualify for maternity leave benefits. It is important for employees to ensure their SSS contributions are up-to-date to be eligible for maternity leave benefits.

Paternity Leave in the Philippines

Paternity leave is a valuable benefit that allows male employees to support their spouses during the childbirth process. Here are the key details of paternity leave:


Male employees who are legally married to a female employee who gave birth are entitled to paternity leave.


Male employees are entitled to a paternity leave of seven (7) days, which can be taken consecutively or separately, within the first four (4) weeks after childbirth. However, it is subject to the agreement between the employer and the employee.


During paternity leave, male employees are not entitled to receive full pay. However, they may use their available leave credits, such as vacation or sick leaves, or negotiate with their employer for compensation during their absence. The compensation and other arrangements during paternity leave should be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the employee.


Male employees must be legally married to the female employee who gave birth and must have informed their employer of the pregnancy and the intention to avail of paternity leave. Proper communication with the employer is crucial to avail of paternity leave benefits.

Additional Notes

In addition to the coverage, duration, benefits, and eligibility requirements of maternity and paternity leave, here are some important additional notes to consider:


To avail of maternity or paternity leave, employees must notify their employer in writing at least 30 days before the intended date of leave or as soon as practicable. Failure to notify may result in forfeiture of the leave. It is important for employees to communicate their plans and intentions to avail of the leave to their employer in a timely manner.


Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who avail of maternity or paternity leave. Employers cannot terminate, demote, or discriminate against employees in any way for taking maternity or paternity leave. It is important for employees to be aware of their rights and report any instances of discrimination to the appropriate authorities.


Employees availing of maternity or paternity leave must provide their employer with the necessary documents, such as medical certificates, to support their leave request. It is important to keep all relevant documentation organized and readily available to ensure a smooth process when applying for and availing of maternity or paternity leave.

Flexible Work Arrangements

After availing of maternity or paternity leave, employees have the right to request for flexible work arrangements, such as reduced working hours, telecommuting, or job sharing, to help them balance their work and family responsibilities. Employers are required to consider and discuss these requests in good faith and explore possibilities for accommodating the needs of the employee.

Employer Obligations

Employers are obligated to comply with the laws and regulations related to maternity and paternity leave in the Philippines. This includes providing the necessary benefits, respecting the employee's right to avail of maternity or paternity leave, and maintaining the confidentiality of the employee's pregnancy or childbirth-related information.


Maternity and paternity leave are important rights that aim to support employees in balancing their work and family responsibilities during pregnancy and childbirth. Female employees are entitled to maternity leave of 105 days for normal delivery and 120 days for a C-section delivery, while male employees are entitled to paternity leave of seven days. It is important for employees to be aware of their rights, eligibility requirements, and the process for availing of maternity and paternity leave. Employers are also obligated to comply with the laws and regulations related to maternity and paternity leave and provide the necessary support to their employees. By understanding and exercising their rights, employees can ensure a smooth and supportive transition into parenthood.


The Importance of Pre-Nuptial Agreements in the Philippines: A Guide for Couples

A prenuptial agreement, commonly known as a prenup, is a legal contract entered into by two individuals before they get married. It outlines how their assets, finances, and other important matters will be handled in the event of a divorce or separation. While prenups are not mandatory in the Philippines, they can provide crucial protection for couples in various ways. In this blog, we will explore the importance of prenuptial agreements for couples in the Philippines and how they can safeguard their assets, clarify financial rights and obligations, protect family inheritance, address issues related to alimony or support, protect business interests, and provide peace of mind.

Protection of Assets

One of the significant advantages of a prenup is its ability to safeguard individual assets brought into the marriage. In the Philippines, there is a community property regime where all properties acquired by the spouses during the marriage are presumed to be owned in equal shares. However, with a prenup, couples can specify which properties will remain separate and which will be considered marital property. This can be especially crucial for individuals who have acquired properties, investments, or businesses before getting married and wish to protect them in case of a divorce.

For example, if one spouse owns a property before marriage and wants to keep it as separate property, a prenup can specify that the property will not be considered part of the community property regime. This means that in case of divorce, the property will be retained by the original owner, and the other spouse will not have any claim to it. Prenups can also protect other assets, such as investments, businesses, and other valuable possessions, ensuring that they are not subject to division during divorce proceedings.

Clarification of Financial Rights and Obligations

Another essential aspect of prenups is that they can help couples define their financial responsibilities and expectations clearly. Financial matters can often be a source of conflict in marriages, and a prenup can address these issues in advance, helping to avoid misunderstandings and disputes down the road. For instance, a prenup can outline how expenses will be shared between the spouses, whether they will maintain joint accounts, and how debts will be managed.

By setting out these financial rights and obligations in a prenup, couples can have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities during the marriage, which can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings. This can be especially beneficial when it comes to managing joint finances, budgeting, and making financial decisions together. A well-drafted prenup can provide a roadmap for financial matters, ensuring that both parties are on the same page and have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Protection of Family Inheritance

In the Philippines, family inheritance holds significant cultural and emotional value. It is often passed down from generation to generation, and families take great pride in preserving their lineage and heritage. However, in the event of a divorce or separation, family inheritance can become a contentious issue. This is where a prenuptial agreement can play a crucial role in protecting family inheritance.

A prenup can clearly outline how family inheritance will be treated in case of a divorce or separation. It can specify that any family inheritance received during the marriage will remain separate property and not subject to division or distribution. This can prevent any potential disputes or claims by the other party in the event of a divorce, ensuring that the family inheritance remains within the intended family lineage.

It is important to note that in the absence of a prenup, family inheritance can be considered as community property and subject to division under the community property regime in the Philippines. By having a prenup in place, couples can proactively protect family inheritance and ensure that it is not jeopardized in the event of a divorce or separation.

Alimony and Support

Another critical aspect that can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement is the issue of alimony or spousal support in case of a divorce. Alimony refers to the financial support that one spouse may be required to provide to the other spouse after a divorce to meet their financial needs. A prenup can outline the terms and conditions of alimony or support, including the amount, duration, and method of payment.

Having a prenup that includes provisions for alimony or support can provide clarity and predictability in case of a divorce, avoiding potential disputes or litigation. It can help both parties understand their financial responsibilities and obligations towards each other, and provide a framework for addressing any financial support needs that may arise after a divorce.

Protection of Business Interests

For couples where one or both parties own a business, a prenuptial agreement can be particularly crucial in protecting business interests. A well-drafted prenup can outline how the business will be managed, treated as marital or separate property, and handled in case of divorce or separation.

A prenup can specify that the business will remain separate property and not subject to division or distribution in case of a divorce. It can also outline how the business will be valued and divided if necessary, or provide for a buy-out provision to protect the business owner's interests. This can help prevent potential financial losses and disruptions to business operations that may arise in the event of a divorce.

Moreover, a prenup can also address issues such as the involvement of the spouse in the business, ownership percentages, and decision-making authority. This can provide clarity and certainty for both parties and help avoid potential conflicts or disputes related to the business during the marriage or in case of a divorce.

Peace of Mind

One of the intangible but significant benefits of a prenuptial agreement is the peace of mind it can provide for both parties. Knowing that their assets, financial rights, and obligations are clearly defined and protected can reduce stress and uncertainty in the relationship. It can also minimize emotional and financial stress in potential divorce proceedings, as many of the contentious issues have already been addressed in the prenup.

A well-drafted prenup can provide a sense of security and stability, allowing couples to focus on building their relationship without the fear of financial disputes or legal battles in the future. It can also promote open and honest communication about financial matters, which can contribute to a healthy and harmonious marriage.


In conclusion, prenuptial agreements, while not mandatory, can offer significant benefits to couples in the Philippines. They provide a legal framework for protecting assets, clarifying financial rights and obligations, safeguarding family inheritance, addressing issues related to alimony or support, protecting business interests, and providing peace of mind. By taking a proactive approach to addressing potential financial challenges in a marriage, a well-drafted prenup can help couples navigate divorce or separation with greater clarity and reduce emotional and financial stress.

It is important for couples to understand that a prenup should not be viewed as a plan for divorce, but rather as a tool for safeguarding interests and promoting a healthy and harmonious relationship. Open communication, trust, and mutual understanding should always be prioritized in a marriage, alongside a legally valid and carefully drafted prenuptial agreement.

When considering a prenup, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a qualified legal professional who specializes in family law and has experience in drafting prenuptial agreements in the Philippines. This ensures that the prenup meets all legal requirements and serves the best interests of both parties.

While prenuptial agreements may not be for everyone, they can provide valuable protection and peace of mind for couples in the Philippines. It is essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons, communicate openly with your partner, and seek professional legal advice to make informed decisions about whether a prenup is right for your specific circumstances. Ultimately, a well-crafted prenup can serve as a valuable tool in safeguarding your financial interests and promoting a healthy and stable marriage.

Animal Welfare and Protection: Understanding Philippine Laws for the Welfare of Animals

Animal welfare and protection are important issues that concern the well-being of animals. In the Philippines, there are laws in place to protect animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. Understanding these laws is essential for ensuring the humane treatment of animals and promoting their welfare. Let's take a closer look at the key laws related to animal welfare and protection in the Philippines.

Republic Act No. 8485 - Animal Welfare Act of 1998

The Animal Welfare Act of 1998 is a significant law in the Philippines that aims to protect the welfare of animals. It prohibits acts of cruelty towards animals, such as maltreatment, torture, killing, and neglect. The law also regulates the sale, transport, and handling of animals to ensure their welfare. Violators of this law may face penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Presidential Decree No. 1602 - The Anti-Cruelty Law

The Anti-Cruelty Law is another important legislation in the Philippines that penalizes acts of cruelty to animals. It includes acts such as beating, torturing, or killing animals, as well as organizing animal fights or using animals for experimentation without proper authority. The use of poison, dangerous drugs, or chemicals to kill or capture animals is also prohibited under this law.

Republic Act No. 10631 - Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 2013

The Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 2013 strengthens the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 by providing stricter penalties for animal cruelty. It includes higher fines and longer imprisonment terms for offenders. The law also includes provisions on responsible pet ownership, such as the requirement for pet owners to have their pets vaccinated, registered, and properly cared for.

Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 40, series of 2011

Rules and Regulations Governing the Operation of Slaughterhouses: This administrative order sets guidelines for the humane handling, transport, and slaughter of animals in slaughterhouses. It includes requirements for proper facilities, equipment, and training of personnel to ensure that animals are treated humanely throughout the slaughtering process. This ensures that animals are not subjected to unnecessary suffering during the process of slaughter.

Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act

The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act provides for the protection and conservation of wildlife species in the Philippines, including their habitats. It regulates the capture, transport, trade, and possession of wildlife to prevent their illegal exploitation and trafficking. The law also prohibits acts of cruelty towards wildlife, such as poaching, hunting, and trading of endangered species.

Fisheries Code of the Philippines

The Fisheries Code of the Philippines includes provisions for the protection of marine animals, such as endangered sea turtles, dolphins, and whales. It prohibits the capture, killing, or trading of these marine animals, and it also sets guidelines for the conservation and management of marine resources in Philippine waters.

Importance of staying updated with animal welfare laws: It's crucial to stay updated with the latest and official sources for animal welfare laws in the Philippines. These laws are subject to updates and amendments, and it's important to comply with the most current regulations to ensure the welfare of animals.

Reporting cases of animal cruelty or abuse

Reporting cases of animal cruelty or abuse is an essential step in ensuring the well-being and protection of animals in the Philippines. If you witness or suspect any form of animal cruelty, it is crucial to take action and report it to the appropriate authorities. Here's some information on how to report such cases:

  1. Gather information: Before making a report, gather as much relevant information as possible. This may include the location of the incident, date and time, description of the situation, and any available evidence such as photographs or videos.

  2. Identify the appropriate authority: Depending on the nature of the incident, there are different authorities to contact. For cases involving companion animals or domesticated animals, you can report to the local police station or barangay (local government unit). If the abuse involves wildlife or protected species, you can reach out to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

  3. Provide a detailed report: When reporting, provide a clear and detailed account of the incident. Include all the gathered information and evidence. The more specific and accurate the report, the better the chances of appropriate action being taken.

  4. Maintain confidentiality: If you're concerned about your identity being revealed, you can request anonymity or ask to be treated as a confidential informant. However, providing your contact information can be helpful if further details are needed during the investigation.

  5. Follow up on the report: After making a report, it's essential to follow up with the relevant authority to ensure that appropriate action is being taken. Ask for updates on the progress of the investigation and any measures being taken to address the situation.

  6. Support animal welfare organizations: In addition to reporting cases to authorities, you can also reach out to local animal welfare organizations in your area. They can provide guidance, resources, and support in dealing with cases of animal cruelty and abuse.

Remember, reporting cases of animal cruelty or abuse is an important step, but it's equally important to prioritize your safety. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation or fear retaliation, consider contacting local authorities or animal welfare organizations for advice and assistance.


Animal welfare and protection laws play a critical role in ensuring the humane treatment of animals in the Philippines. It's important to understand and comply with these laws to prevent cruelty, abuse, and neglect toward animals. By staying informed, reporting cases of animal cruelty, and promoting responsible pet ownership and wildlife conservation, we can contribute to creating a more compassionate and caring society that values and protects the welfare of animals. Let's work together to promote awareness about animal welfare laws, advocate for stricter enforcement, and foster a culture of kindness and respect towards animals in the Philippines.

Remember, every action counts. As animal lovers, we have the power to make a positive impact on the lives of animals by being responsible pet owners, supporting animal welfare organizations, reporting cases of animal cruelty, and spreading awareness about animal welfare laws. Let's stand up for the rights of animals and be their voice in ensuring their well-being and protection.

E-Commerce and Online Business Law in the Philippines: Legal Compliance for Digital Entrepreneurs

In recent years, the Philippines has seen significant growth in e-commerce and online business activities. With the increasing popularity of online shopping and digital entrepreneurship, it is crucial for digital entrepreneurs to understand and comply with the legal requirements and regulations governing e-commerce and online business in the country. Failure to do so can result in legal liabilities, fines, and penalties that can adversely impact the success and reputation of your business.

Business Registration

One of the first steps in establishing an e-commerce or online business in the Philippines is to register your business name with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations. Registering your business name helps establish your brand identity and protects it from being used by others. Additionally, depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain permits and licenses from local government units (LGUs) or other relevant government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food-related products or the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for telecommunications services.

Consumer Protection

Protecting the rights and interests of consumers is of utmost importance in e-commerce and online business. The Philippine Consumer Act applies to e-commerce businesses and sets forth the obligations of sellers in providing clear and accurate product descriptions, pricing, and terms of sale. This includes providing accurate information about the features, specifications, and conditions of the products or services being offered, as well as the total price, including taxes, shipping fees, and other charges. It is also essential to comply with data privacy laws, such as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, in handling customer personal information securely, including obtaining proper consent for data collection and use and implementing appropriate security measures to protect against data breaches.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Respecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of others is crucial in e-commerce and online business. This includes trademarks, copyrights, and patents. It is essential to conduct thorough research to ensure that your business name, logo, or products do not infringe on the IPR of others. Additionally, registering your own trademarks or copyrights can help protect your brand and content from being copied or used without permission by others, and give you the right to take legal action against infringers.

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

Cybersecurity and data privacy are critical aspects of e-commerce and online business. Complying with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 is necessary for collecting, using, and processing personal information of customers. This includes obtaining proper consent for data collection, implementing appropriate security measures to protect against data breaches, and ensuring that personal information is used only for the purpose for which it was collected. It is also important to regularly update and patch software and systems to protect against cybersecurity threats, such as hacking, malware, and data breaches.


As with any business, e-commerce and online business in the Philippines are subject to taxation. It is important to register for the appropriate taxes, such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) or Percentage Tax, and comply with the tax filing and payment requirements of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This includes keeping accurate records of sales, expenses, and other financial transactions related to your e-commerce or online business and filing regular tax returns on time. Failure to comply with tax requirements can result in penalties, fines, and legal liabilities.

Electronic Commerce Act

The Republic Act 8792 or The Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 is a key law that governs e-commerce in the Philippines. It provides legal recognition to electronic documents, signatures, and contracts, and sets forth the rights and responsibilities of parties engaged in e-commerce transactions. It also establishes the legal framework for electronic transactions, including online payments, electronic records, and electronic signatures

Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is an important aspect of e-commerce and online business. It is crucial to have clear and fair policies in place for handling customer complaints, returns, refunds, and other disputes that may arise in the course of your business operations. It is advisable to have clear terms and conditions, refund and return policies, and dispute resolution procedures on your website or online platform to manage customer expectations and avoid potential legal disputes. In the case of legal disputes, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or arbitration, can be utilized to resolve the issues efficiently and cost-effectively.

Advertising and Marketing

Advertising and marketing play a significant role in e-commerce and online business. However, it is crucial to comply with advertising and marketing laws and regulations in the Philippines. This includes adhering to the Fair Trade Commission's rules on deceptive advertising, the Anti-Red Tape Act, and other relevant laws. It is important to ensure that your advertising and marketing practices are truthful, accurate, and not misleading to avoid legal liabilities and penalties.

Logistics and Shipping

Logistics and shipping are critical aspects of e-commerce and online business, and it is essential to comply with the laws and regulations related to transportation, customs, and trade. This includes obtaining the necessary permits, licenses, and clearances for shipping and transportation of goods, complying with customs regulations, and ensuring that your shipping practices are in line with local laws and regulations. It is also important to have clear shipping policies, including delivery times, shipping fees, and return or refund policies, to manage customer expectations and avoid potential disputes.


In conclusion, starting and operating an e-commerce or online business in the Philippines requires compliance with various legal requirements and regulations. From business registration to consumer protection, IPR, cybersecurity, taxation, electronic commerce, dispute resolution, advertising, marketing, and logistics, there are numerous legal considerations that digital entrepreneurs need to be aware of and adhere to. Failure to comply with these legal requirements can result in legal liabilities, fines, and penalties, which can adversely affect the success and reputation of your business.

Therefore, it is crucial to understand and comply with the legal landscape of e-commerce and online business in the Philippines to ensure smooth and lawful operations of your business. Seeking legal advice from qualified professionals is recommended to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Remember, legal compliance is essential for the long-term success and sustainability of your e-commerce or online business in the Philippines.

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About VAT in the Philippines

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied on the sale, barter, exchange, or lease of goods, properties, or services in the Philippines. The tax is an indirect tax that is ultimately borne by the final consumer, but businesses that provide taxable goods or services collect and remit it to the government. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive guide for business owners on navigating the complexities of VAT regulations in the Philippines.

VAT Rates and Thresholds

Understanding VAT rates and thresholds is crucial for business owners in the Philippines. VAT rates in the country are currently set at 12% of the gross selling price or gross value in money of goods or services sold. This means that for every sale made by a VAT-registered business, they must add 12% to the selling price, which will be collected from the buyer as part of the transaction.

Meanwhile, the VAT threshold for mandatory registration is Php 3 million in annual gross sales or receipts. This means that businesses that exceed this amount must register for VAT with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and start issuing VAT invoices or receipts to their customers. On the other hand, businesses that have an annual gross sales or receipts of less than Php 3 million are not required to register for VAT, but they can choose to do so voluntarily if they believe it will benefit their operations.

Non-VAT-registered businesses, however, are not entirely exempt from tax obligations. They must still pay other taxes such as percentage tax, which is a tax based on a percentage of their gross sales or receipts. The percentage tax rate varies depending on the nature of the business, and it is imposed on businesses with an annual gross sales or receipts exceeding Php 250,000.

It is important for business owners to understand these VAT rates and thresholds to ensure that they are compliant with the tax regulations in the Philippines. Registering for VAT is necessary for businesses that have exceeded the threshold and failure to do so may result in penalties and other legal sanctions. On the other hand, non-VAT-registered businesses must still ensure that they pay other taxes such as percentage tax, as required by law.

VAT Compliance Requirements

To comply with VAT regulations in the Philippines, businesses must undergo the VAT registration process, which includes submitting the necessary documents to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). After registration, businesses must issue VAT invoices or receipts for every taxable transaction they make. They must also file their VAT returns and pay their VAT liabilities on time, usually on a monthly basis. In addition, VAT-registered businesses must maintain accurate records of their sales, purchases, and other transactions.

Input Tax Credits and Refunds

Input tax credits are credits that VAT-registered businesses can claim on their purchases of goods or services that are directly related to their VAT-registered business activities. These credits can be used to offset VAT liabilities on future sales. However, there are conditions for claiming input tax credits, such as ensuring that the supplier of the goods or services is also VAT-registered. Businesses engaged in zero-rated sales, such as exports or sales to foreign clients, are still required to register for VAT and file VAT returns but are entitled to claim for VAT refunds on their input taxes.

VAT Exemptions and Zero-rated Sales

Some sales are exempt from VAT, including but not limited to medical and educational services, sale of residential properties, and exports. On the other hand, businesses engaged in zero-rated sales, such as exports or sales to foreign clients, can still claim input tax credits but are not required to charge VAT to their customers.

BIR Implementation and Enforcement

The BIR is the government agency responsible for implementing and enforcing VAT laws in the Philippines. Failure to comply with VAT requirements may result in penalties and sanctions, such as fines, surcharges, and imprisonment. It is crucial for businesses to keep themselves updated with VAT regulations and seek the assistance of a tax professional or accountant to avoid costly mistakes.


Navigating VAT regulations in the Philippines can be daunting for business owners. However, understanding and complying with VAT requirements is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure smooth business operations. It is highly recommended to consult with a tax professional or accountant to help navigate the complexities of VAT regulations. By doing so, business owners can focus on their core activities and achieve their business goals.

Fake Products-You Get What You Pay For

Have you ever wondered why the oft-repeated statement "quality comes at a price" still rings true? While there are affordable products made of good quality materials, there are fake products sold in stores that look like the exact replica of its original counterpart. If you are not a keen buyer, you will mistake these fake products for real ones. 

Fake beauty cosmetics are very popular these days. Why shell out thousands of pesos when you can buy them for less? However, fake products have not gone through stringent inspections. Hence, they do not meet consumer product standards. What happens when we use counterfeit or fake products?

Fake cosmetics contain harsh chemicals. When applied to the skin, they can cause irritation or sometimes, more serious damage. Most of which even have lead content, known to be harmful to the body when ingested. Sure, not everyone can afford branded products, but there are still cheaper and safer alternatives. Going local not only saves you money but gives you greater peace of mind as well because you are aware you are using products that have passed the quality and safety standards.

Under Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, counterfeit product refers to "any consumer product which, or the container or labeling of which, without authorization, bears the trademark, trade name, or other identifying mark, imprint, or device, or any likeness thereof, of a consumer product manufacturer, processor, packer, distributor, other than the person or persons who in fact manufactured, processed, packed or distributed such product and which thereby falsely purports or is represented to be the product of, or to have been packed or distributed by such consumer product manufacturer, processor, packer, or distributor."

Under Article 10 of the said Act, "whenever the departments find, by their own initiative or by petition of a consumer, that a consumer product is found to be injurious, unsafe or dangerous, it shall, after due notice and hearing, make the appropriate order for its recall, prohibition or seizure from public sale or distribution: Provided, That, in the sound discretion of the department it may declare a consumer product to be imminently injurious, unsafe or dangerous, and order is immediate recall, ban or seizure from public sale or distribution, in which case, the seller, distributor, manufacturer or producer thereof shall be afforded a hearing within forty-eight (48) hours from such order.

The ban on the sale and distribution of a consumer product adjudged injurious, unsafe or dangerous, or imminently injurious, unsafe or dangerous under the preceding paragraph shall stay in force until such time that its safety can be assured or measures to ensure its safety have been established."

No Money To Pay A Lawyer-What Should You Do?

Not everyone can afford a lawyer. This is a harsh but sad reality we are always confronted with. Although we want justice to be served, the lack of funds always gets in the way. While we do not ask for it, we can be in a situation where our rights as a human being are violated. We can choose to be mum about it, but sometimes, enough is enough.

There comes a time when we require legal services. Defending ourselves is not enough because we have to take the law into consideration. Unfortunately,  getting a lawyer is often easier said than done. We can fantasize about winning over our opponent, but without the money to spend for legal fees, all of these will remain a dream. Our chances of defending our rights will be reduced to a speck of dust.

What shall we do then? Should we wallow in self-pity just because we do not have the means to seek legal assistance? There are still ways we can seek affordable legal professional services.

1. Assess the gravity of the situation

There are instances when we let our emotions control us in situations that can be settled without taking matters to court. In fact, there are cases that can be settled at the barangay level, but most of us take the shorter and faster route. Remember that if it is only a minor problem, we should not let our emotions get the best of us. Use good judgment. It might save us money.

2. Seek legal advice from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Did you know that most law schools nowadays have offices intended to provide legal aid? This is where law students put their profession to practice. Student lawyers in the Philippines are required to undergo two semesters of legal training, provided it is supervised. They can also appear in court, but they must be supervised by a member of a Philippine Bar.

3. Seek help from non-governmental organizations

Even our OFWs can be faced with a difficult situation that requires the assistance of legal practitioners. These cases can be forwarded to NGOs, which are catering to migrant workers.

4. Go to Public Attorney's Office

Public Attorney's Office (PAO) has been known for providing free legal assistance to underprivileged clients. The lawyers will represent the client pro bono. They have nationwide offices or we can also visit their official website:www.pao.gov.ph.

5. Visit legal forums

The online community is another avenue for seeking free legal advice. Legal matters such as annulment, child support, child custody and property relations are often discussed in these forums. We might chance upon a lawyer that can provide a few legal tips. There is a caveat though: the cyberspace is breeding ground for scammers. We just need to be extra careful.

These are only suggestions. The success rate will still depend on many factors such as the case that will be handled or our qualification as a client. Have you sought free legal aid? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

Gaining Temporary Freedom By Posting Bail

Bail secures the release of a person from jail, provided that he or she will return for court appearances or trial. In the event the suspect fails to return to court, the bail will be forfeited. It will only be returned if the suspect was able to comply with the required appearances. Regardless of whether the person is found guilty or not guilty, the bail money will be returned at the end of the trial. The laws governing bail vary from country to country. In the Philippines Rule 114 provides details on the conditions and requirements of bail.

Rule 114

Sec. 2. Conditions of the bail; requirements. — All kinds of bail are subject to the following conditions:

(a) The undertaking shall be effective upon approval and remain in force at all stages of the case, unless sooner cancelled, until the promulgation of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, irrespective of whatever the case was originally filed in or appealed to it;

(b) The accused shall appear before the proper court whenever so required by the court or these Rules;

(c) The failure if the accused to appear at the trial without justification despite due notice to him r his bondsman shall be deemed an express waiver of his right to be present on the date specified in the notice. In such case, the trial may proceed in absentia; and

(d) The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court for execution of the final judgment.

The original papers shall state the full name and address of the accused, the amount of the undertaking and the conditions herein required. Photographs (passport size) taken recently showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be attached thereto. (2a)

Sec. 3. No release or transfer except on court or bail. — No person under detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon lawful order of the court or when he is admitted to bail as prescribed in this Rule. (n)

Sec. 4. Bail, a matter of right. — All persons in custody shall: (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offenses not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule. (3a)

Sec. 5. Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on application, may admit the accused to bail.

The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue on provisional liberty under the same bail bond during the period of appeal subject to the consent of the bondsman.

If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six (6) years but not more than twenty (20)years, the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be cancelled, upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:

(a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;

(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or has violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification;

(c) That the accused committed the offense while on probation, parole, or under conditional pardon;

(d) That the circumstances of the accused or his indicate the probability of flight of released on bail; or

(e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the appeal, the accused may commit another crime.

The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court, on motion and with notice to the adverse party. (n)

Sec. 6. Capital offense, defined. — A capital offense, as the term is used in these Rules, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished with death. (4)

Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. — No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. (n)

Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. — At the hearing of an application for admission to bail filed by any person who is in custody for the commission of an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. The evidence presented during the bail hearings shall be considered automatically reproduced at the trial, but upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness for additional examination unless the witness is dead, outside of the Philippines or otherwise unable to testify. (5a)

Sec. 9. Amount of bail; guidelines. — The judge who issued the warrant or granted the application shall fix a reasonable amount of bail considering primarily, but not limited to the following guidelines:

(a) Financial ability of the accused to give bail;

(b) Nature and circumstances of the offense;

(c) Penalty of the offense charged;

(d) Character and reputation of the accused;

(e) Age and health of the accused;

(f) The weight of the evidence against the accused;

(g) Probability of the accused appearing in trial;

(h) Forfeiture of other bonds;

(i) The fact that accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested; and

(j) The pendency of other cases in which the accused is under bond.

Excessive bail shall not be required. (6)

What Is A Foreign Investments Act?

Foreign investments provide an economic boon, but investing in the Philippines proved to be a challenge because of the laws and processes involved. In 2015 alone, the country's economy has increased by 6.5%, and most of which are due to foreign investments. However, if you are a foreigner venturing into setting up a business in the Philippines, the process is not going to be easy. From endless paperwork to accomplishing BIR registration, the corporate law is, without a doubt, complicated.

Foreign investors and entrepreneurs have to be aware that there are government restrictions involved in foreign equity. This has been specified under Republic Act No. 7042 otherwise known as the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (FIA). The act has been amended by Republic Act No. 8179. The Act provides a detailed explanation of the limitations on foreign equity.


Sec. 2. Sec. 7 of Republic Act No. 7042 is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 7. Foreign Investments in Domestic Market Enterprises. – Non-Philippine nationals may own up to one hundred percent (100%) of domestic market enterprises unless foreign ownership therein is prohibited or limited by the Constitution and existing law or the Foreign Investment Negative List under Sec. 8 hereof.

Sec. 3. Sec. 8 of the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 8. List of Investment Areas Reserved to Philippine Nationals (Foreign Investment Negative List). – The Foreign Investment Negative List shall have two (2) component lists: A and B:

a) List A shall enumerate the areas of activities reserved to Philippine nationals by mandate of the Constitution and specific laws.

b) List B shall contain the areas of activities and enterprises regulated pursuant to law:

1) which are defense-related activities, requiring prior clearance and authorization from Department of National Defense (DND) to engage in such activity, such as the manufacture, repair, storage and/or distribution of firearms, ammunition, lethal weapons, military ordinances, explosives, pyrotechnics and similar materials, unless such manufacturing on repair activity is specifically authorized, with a substantial export component, to a non-Philippine national by the Secretary of National Defense; or

2) which have implications on public health and morals, such as the manufacture and distribution of dangerous drugs, all forms of gambling, nightclubs, bars, beer houses, dance halls, sauna and steam bathhouses and massage clinics.

Small and medium-sized domestic market enterprises with paid-in equity capital less than the equivalent of Two hundred thousand US dollars (US$200,000.00), are reserved to Philippine nationals: provided, that if (1) they involve advanced technology, or (2) they employ at least fifty (50) direct employees, then a minimum paid-in capital of One hundred thousand US dollars (US$100,000.00) shall be allowed to non-Philippine nationals.

Amendments to List B may be made upon recommendation of the Secretary of National Defense, or the Secretary of Health, or the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, indorsed by the NEDA, or upon recommendation motu propio, of NEDA, approved by the President, and promulgated by a Presidential Proclamation.

The Transitory Foreign Investment Negative List established in Section 15 hereof shall be replaced at the end of the transitory period by the first Regular Negative List to be formulated and recommended by NEDA, following the process and criteria, provided in Sections 8 and 9 of this Act. The first Regular Negative Lists shall be published not later than sixty (60) days before the end of the transitory period provided in said section and shall become immediately effective at the end of the transitory period. Subsequent Foreign Investment Negative Lists shall become effective fifteen (15) days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines: provided, however, that each Foreign Investment Negative List shall be prospective in operation and shall in no way affect foreign investment existing on the date of its publication.

Amendments to List B after promulgation and publication of the first Regular Foreign Investment Negative List at the end of the transitory period shall not be made more often than once every two (2) years.

Sec. 4. The Foreign Investments Act is further amended by inserting a new section designated as Sec. 9 to read as follows:

Sec. 9. Investment Rights of Former Natural-born Filipinos. – For purposes of this Act, former natural born citizens of the Philippines shall have the same investment rights of a Philippine citizen in Cooperatives under Republic Act No. 6938. Rural Banks under Republic Act No. 7353, Thrift Banks and Private Development Banks under Republic Act No. 7906, and Financing Companies under Republic Act No. 5980. These rights shall not extend to activities reserved by the Constitution, including (1) the exercise of profession, (2) in defense related activities under Sec. 8 (b) hereof, unless specifically authorized by the Secretary of National Defense, and (3) activities covered by Republic Act No. 1180 (Retail Trade Act), Republic Act No. 5487 (Security Agency Act). Republic Act No. 7076 (Small Scale Mining Act). Republic Act No. 3018, as amended (Rice and Corn Industry Act), and P.D. 449 (Cockpits Operation and Management).

Sec. 5. The Foreign Investments Act is further amended by inserting a new section designated as Section 10 to read as follows:

Sec. 10. Other Rights of Natural Born Citizen Pursuant to the Provisions of Article XII, Sec. 8 of the Constitution. – Any natural born citizen who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of five thousand (5,000) square meters in the case of urban land or three (3) hectares in the case of rural land to be used by him for business or other purposes. In the case of married couples, one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted: provided, that if both shall avail of the same, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed.

In case the transferee already owns urban or rural land for business or other purposes, he shall still be entitled to be a transferee of additional urban or rural land for business or other purposes which when added to those already owned by him shall not exceed the maximum areas herein authorized.

A transferee under this Act may acquire not more than two (2) lots which should be situated in different municipalities or cities anywhere in the Philippines: provided, that the total land area thereof shall not exceed five thousand (5,000) hectares in the case of rural land for use by him for business or other purposes. A transferee who has already acquired urban land shall be disqualified from acquiring rural land area and vice versa.

Sec. 6. The National Economic and Development Authority, in consultation with the Board of Investments, the Department of Trade and Industry and Securities and Exchange Commission, shall prepare and issue the necessary primer and other information campaign materials regarding the Foreign Investments Act and the amendments introduced thereto, with copies of said materials furnished all the Philippine embassies, consulates and other diplomatic offices abroad and disseminated to Filipino nationals, former natural-born Filipino citizens, and foreign investors, within sixty days after the effectivity hereof. 

Sec. 7. The NEDA is hereby directed to make the necessary amendments to the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 7042 in order to reflect the changes embodied in this Act.

Sec. 8. Sections 9 and 10 of Republic Act No. 7042 and all references thereto in said law are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. All other laws, rules and regulations and/or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Sec. 9. If any part or section of this Act is declared unconstitutional for any reason whatsoever, such declarant shall not in any way affect the other parts or sections of this Act.

Sec. 10. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.

Prescription Period Of Crimes

Crimes are not immediately penalized due to the circumstances that deter the offended party from filing criminal charges. Sometimes, it may take years for offenders or perpetrators to pay for the crime they committed. However, the law prescribes a specific time within which an offender may be prosecuted for the crimes committed. Why is it important to know the prescription period of a crime? Does a guilty person go unpunished if the commission of violation already lapses the prescription period? The offended party or the proper authorities will lose their right to prosecute the perpetrators if they do not take legal actions within the prescribed period. 

Art. 90. Prescription of crime. — Crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal shall prescribe in twenty years.

Crimes punishable by other afflictive penalties shall prescribe in fifteen years.

Those punishable by a correctional penalty shall prescribe in ten years; with the exception of those punishable by arresto mayor, which shall prescribe in five years.

The crime of libel or other similar offenses shall prescribe in one year.

The crime of oral defamation and slander by deed shall prescribe in six months.

Light offenses prescribe in two months.

When the penalty fixed by law is a compound one, the highest penalty shall be made the basis of the application of the rules contained in the first, second and third paragraphs of this article.


Section 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance with the following rules: (a) after a year for offenses punished only by a fine or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or both; (b) after four years for those punished by imprisonment for more than one month, but less than two years; (c) after eight years for those punished by imprisonment for two years or more, but less than six years; and (d) after twelve years for any other offense punished by imprisonment for six years or more, except the crime of treason, which shall prescribe after twenty years. Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months.

Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceeding for its investigation and punishment.

The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy.

The Purpose Of Earnest Money

A contract is already a proof that two or more persons have entered an agreement. However, there are instances when a written contract is not enough to determine one's sincerity in fulfilling what has been agreed on. An earnest money or "arras" is usually given by the prospective buyer to the seller. This is to show that the buyer is interested in purchasing the property. The main purpose of the earnest money is to bind the bargain. It is also considered as part of the purchase price and will be deducted from the total price. Once the earnest money is given to the seller, it will perfect the contract of sale. A payment will only be considered an earnest money if it constitutes as part of the purchase price. The money will be refunded if the sale did not push through. 

Here is a scenario of how an earnest money is determined:

On March 28, 1990, respondent, through his counsel Atty. Ponciano Espiritu, wrote petitioners informing them of his readiness to pay the balance of the contract price and requesting them to prepare the final deed of sale.[3]

On April 4, 1990, petitioners, through Atty. Ruben V. Lopez, sent a letter[4] to respondent stating that petitioner Amparo Herrera is leaving for abroad on or before April 15, 1990 and that they are canceling the transaction. Petitioners also informed respondent that he can recover the earnest money of P100,000.00 anytime.

Again, on April 6, 1990,[5] petitioners wrote respondent stating that they delivered to his counsel Philippine National Bank Managers Check No. 790537 dated April 6, 1990 in the amount of P100,000.00 payable to him.

In view of the cancellation of the contract by petitioners, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati City a complaint against them for specific performance and damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 90-1067.[6]

On June 27, 1994, after hearing, the trial court rendered its Decision[7] finding there was a perfected contract of sale between the parties and ordering petitioners to execute a final deed of sale in favor of respondent. The trial court held:

x x x

In the evaluation of the evidence presented by the parties as to the issue as to who was ready to comply with his obligation on the verbal agreement to sell on March 23, 1990, shows that plaintiffs position deserves more weight and credibility. First, the P100,000.00 that plaintiff paid whether as downpayment or earnest money showed that there was already a perfected contract. Art. 1482 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, reads as follows, to wit:

Art. 1482. Whenever earnest money is given in a contract of sale, it shall be considered as part of the price and as proof of the perfection of the contract.

Second, plaintiff was the first to react to show his eagerness to push through with the sale by sending defendants the letter dated March 25, 1990. (Exh. D) and reiterated the same intent to pursue the sale in a letter dated April 6, 1990. Third, plaintiff had the balance of the purchase price ready for payment (Exh. C). Defendants mere allegation that it was plaintiff who did not appear on March 23, 1990 is unavailing. Defendants letters (Exhs. 2 and 5) appear to be mere afterthought.

DOTr Might Revoke Franchises And Licenses Of Those Who Participate In Transport Strike

Following the two-day transport strike held on October 16-17, PISTON will once again organize another transport strike On December 4 and 5. This is still in relation to the modernization of jeepneys. As we all know, the drivers and operators were clamoring about the jeepney phase out when it was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte. Operators perceive this to be a wrong move as drivers and operators have to shoulder the expenses for overhauling the public transportation. 

The two-day transport strike is said to put a stop to the government's future plan. However, the repeated strike only prompted transport chief Arthur Tugade to cancel franchises and licenses of those who will participate in the transport strike  Tugade believes that protesters will only disrupt public convenience. 

He also added that PISTON has already been invited to dialogues, but they still preferred to hold strikes. Jeepney operators will also face legal consequences. 

The LTFRB  has filed cases against operators who stopped jeepney operations to take their turmoil and discontentment against jeepney modernization to the streets. 

Although the government has previously warned protesters, none of the participants' licenses and franchises has been revoked yet. 

What You Need To Know About The Modernization Program?

The modernization program covers jeepneys, buses and public utility vans. For the commuting public, the modernization will bring safer means of transportation as new vehicles will be equipped with CCTVs and GPs. These devices will monitor both passengers and drivers. The vehicles will also have speed limiters, and safety officers will also be assigned. 

Although jeepney drivers are not in favor of the modernization, the program will also make way for receiving monthly salaries and benefits. What's in it for them? The sight of drivers competing against each other to get as many passengers as possible will hopefully be reduced. Once OFG will be issued, existing franchises will continue to operate for a maximum of three years. The transition period will also be a time for operators to apply to operate in new or modified routes. 

How To Determine The Validity Of A Will?

Making a will ensures that conflict and controversy regarding the deceased person's estate are prevented. A will under Article 783 refers to " a will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of this estate, to take effect after his death."

Article 784 also states that the making of a will must be a personal act. The Civil Codes also specifies that a testator can execute can execute two kinds of wills. These are the attested and holographic will.

The ordinary or attested will is governed by Articles 804 to 809:

Art. 804.  Every will must be in writing and executed in a language or dialect known to the testator.

Art. 805.  Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.  The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall be interpreted to them. 

Art. 806.  Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court. 

Art. 807.  If the testator be deaf, or a deaf-mute, he must personally read the will, if able to do so; otherwise, he shall designate two persons to read it and communicate to him, in some practicable manner, the contents thereof.

Art. 808.  If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice; once, by one of the subscribing witnesses, and again, by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged. 

Art. 809.  In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud, or undue and improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of article 805.

The holographic will is governed by Article 810 of the New Civil Code:

“A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.”

Guidelines On Filing For Child Support

Handling family cases is the hardest let alone settling conflicts between the opposing parties, especially on the issues of child support. Estranged spouses are not the only ones involved in the battle for support and custody but siblings and relatives as well. 

When it comes to child support, Articles 195 and 196 of the Family Code enumerate the people who are under obligation to support each other:

The following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood (291a)

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cause imputable to the claimant's fault or negligence. 

Guidelines on filing for child support:

1. If women who are going to file and ask for support does not have the ability to pay for court fees, seeking help from the Public Attorney's Office is going to be your best bet. They can also go to Department of Justice and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. 

2. A Protection Order is issued to protect the woman and her children from violence and economic abuse. In this case, custody will be given automatically to the woman with an entitlement of support.

3. The cases shall be filed in the Regional Trial Courts. They will also serve as Family Courts for hearing cases. 

4. The support is applicable to both legitimate and illegitimate children. It includes clothing, education, transportation and food. The support will be in accordance with the capacity and resources of the father. 

5. The woman parent will be the one to file the support of the child. If the child is below 7 years old, the custody will be given automatically to the mother. 

6. Regardless of the marriage status, the father's support should be considered as compulsory. Support will be in monetary form if the children are in the mother's custody and children will be under the father's custody for survival. 

It is also important to note that support and child custody will depend on a case by case basis. For minor children, they are definitely entitled to parental support. 

The Philippine Competition Act

Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act provides policy of the Philippines for protecting and promoting competitive market. The Act believes that competition is intended to:

-encourage private investments;

-promote entrepreneurial spirit;

-enhance resource productivity; and

-facilitate technology development and transfer.

Sec. 5. Philippine Competition Commission. – To implement the national competition policy and attain the objectives and purposes of this Act, an independent quasi-judicial body is hereby created, which shall be known as the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), hereinafter referred to as the Commission, and which shall be organized within sixty (60) days after the effectivity of this Act. Upon establishment of the Commission, Executive Order No. 45 designating the Department of Justice as the Competition Authority is hereby amended. The Office for Competition (OFC) under the Office of the Secretary of Justice shall however be retained, with its powers and functions modified pursuant to Section 13 of this Chapter.

The Commission shall be an attached agency to the Office of the President.

Sec. 6. Composition of the Commission. – The Commission shall be composed of a Chairperson and four (4) Commissioners. The Chairperson and the Commissioners shall be citizens and residents of the Philippines, of good moral character, of recognized probity and independence and must have distinguished themselves professionally in public, civic or academic service in any of the following fields: economics, law, finance, commerce or engineering. They must have been in the active practice of their professions for at least ten (10) years, and must not have been candidates for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding elections, whether regular or special: Provided,That at least one (1) shall be a member of the Philippine Bar with at least ten (10) years of experience in the active practice of law, and at least one (1) shall be an economist. The Chairperson and the Commissioners who shall have the rank equivalent of cabinet secretary and undersecretary, respectively, shall be appointed by the President.

Sec. 7. Term of Office. – The term of office of the Chairperson and the Commissioners shall be seven (7) years without reappointment. Of the first set of appointees, the Chairperson shall hold office for seven (7) years and of the first four (4) Commissioners, two (2) shall hold office for a term of seven (7) years and two (2) for a term of five (5) years. In case a vacancy occurs before the expiration of the term of office, the appointment to such vacancy shall only be for the unexpired term of the predecessor.

The Chairperson and the Commissioners shall enjoy security of tenure and shall not be suspended or removed from office except for just cause as provided by law.

Sec. 8. Prohibitions and Disqualifications. – The Commissioners shall not, during their tenure, hold any other office or employment. They shall not, during their tenure, directly or indirectly practice any profession, except in a teaching capacity, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or any franchise, or special privileges granted by the government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned and -controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. They shall not be qualified to run for any office in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office: Provided, That the election mentioned hereof is not a Barangay election or a Sangguniang Kabataan election. Provided, they shall not be allowed to personally appear or practice as counsel or agent on any matter pending before the Commission for two (2) years following their cessation from office.

No spouse or relative by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of any of the Commissioners, the Chairperson and the Executive Director of the Commission may appear as counsel nor agent on any matter pending before the Commission or transact business directly or indirectly therein during incumbency and within two (2) years from cessation of office.

Sec. 9. Compensation and Other Emoluments for Members and Personnel of the Commission.— The compensation and other emoluments for the members and personnel of the Commission shall be exempted from the coverage of Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the “Salary Standardization Act”. For this purpose, the salaries and other emoluments of the Chairperson, the Commissioners, and personnel of the Commission shall be set based on an objective classification system, taking into consideration the importance and responsibilities attached to the respective positions, and shall be submitted to the President of the Philippines for his approval.

Sec. 10. Quorum. – Three (3) members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of three (3) members shall be necessary for the adoption of any rule, ruling, order, resolution, decision or other acts of the Commission.

Sec. 11. Staff. – The Commission shall appoint, fix the compensation, and determine the status, qualifications, and duties of an adequate staff, which shall include an Executive Director of the Commission. The Executive Director shall be appointed by the Commission and shall have relevant experience in any of the fields of law, economics, commerce, management, finance or engineering for at least ten (10) years. The members of the technical staff, except those performing purely clerical functions, shall possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in any of the following lines of specialization: economics, law, finance, commerce, engineering, accounting, or management.

Sec. 12. Powers and Functions. — The Commission shall have original and primary jurisdiction over the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Act, and its implementing rules and regulations. The Commission shall exercise the following powers and functions:

(a) Conduct inquiry, investigate, and hear and decide on cases involving any violation of this Act and other existing competition laws motu proprio or upon receipt of a verified complaint from an interested party or upon referral by the concerned regulatory agency, and institute the appropriate civil or criminal proceedings;

(b) Review proposed mergers and acquisitions, determine thresholds for notification, determine the requirements and procedures for notification, and upon exercise of its powers to review, prohibit mergers and acquisitions that will substantially prevent, restrict, or lessen competition in the relevant market;

(c) Monitor and undertake consultation with stakeholders and affected agencies for the purpose of understanding market behavior;

(d) Upon finding, based on substantial evidence, that an entity has entered into an anti-competitive agreement or has abused its dominant position after due notice and hearing, stop or redress the same, by applying remedies, such as, but not limited to, issuance of injunctions, requirement of divestment, and disgorgement of excess profits under such reasonable parameters that shall be prescribed by the rules and regulations implementing this Act;

(e) Conduct administrative proceedings, impose sanctions, fines or penalties for any noncompliance with or breach of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and punish for contempt;

(f) Issue subpoena duces tecum and subpoena ad testificandum to require the production of books, records, or other documents or data which relate to any matter relevant to the investigation and personal appearance before the Commission, summon witnesses, administer oaths, and issue interim orders such as show cause orders and cease and desist orders after due notice and hearing in accordance with the rules and regulations implementing this Act;

(g) Upon order of the court, undertake inspections of business premises and other offices, land and vehicles, as used by the entity, where it reasonably suspects that relevant books, tax records, or other documents which relate to any matter relevant to the investigation are kept, in order to prevent the removal, concealment, tampering with, or destruction of the books, records, or other documents;

(h) Issue adjustment or divestiture orders including orders for corporate reorganization or divestment in the manner and under such terms and conditions as may be prescribed in the rules and regulations implementing this Act. Adjustment or divestiture orders, which are structural remedies, should only be imposed:

(1) Where there is no equally effective behavioral remedy; or

(2) Where any equally effective behavioral remedy would be more burdensome for the enterprise concerned than the structural remedy. Changes to the structure of an enterprise as it existed before the infringement was committed would only be proportionate to the substantial risk of a lasting or repeated infringement that derives from the very structure of the enterprise;

(i) Deputize any and all enforcement agencies of the government or enlist the aid and support of any private institution, corporation, entity or association, in the implementation of its powers and functions;

(j) Monitor compliance by the person or entities concerned with the cease and desist order or consent judgment;

(k) Issue advisory opinions and guidelines on competition matters for the effective enforcement of this Act and submit annual and special reports to Congress, including proposed legislation for the regulation of commerce, trade, or industry;

(l) Monitor and analyze the practice of competition in markets that affect the Philippine economy; implement and oversee measures to promote transparency and accountability; and ensure that prohibitions and requirements of competition laws are adhered to;

(m) Conduct, publish, and disseminate studies and reports on anti-competitive conduct and agreements to inform and guide the industry and consumers;

(n) Intervene or participate in administrative and regulatory proceedings requiring consideration of the provisions of this Act that are initiated by government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Telecommunications Commission;

(o) Assist the National Economic and Development Authority, in consultation with relevant agencies and sectors, in the preparation and formulation of a national competition policy;

(p) Act as the official representative of the Philippine government in international competition matters;

(q) Promote capacity building and the sharing of best practices with other competition-related bodies;

(r) Advocate pro-competitive policies of the government by:

(1) Reviewing economic and administrative regulations, motu proprio or upon request, as to whether or not they adversely affect relevant market competition, and advising the concerned agencies against such regulations; and

(2) Advising the Executive Branch on the competitive implications of government actions, policies and programs; and

(s) Charging reasonable fees to defray the administrative cost of the services rendered.

Sec. 13. Office for Competition (OFC), Powers and Functions. — The OFC under the Department of Justice (DOJ-OFC) shall only conduct preliminary investigation and undertake prosecution of all criminal offenses arising under this Act and other competition-related laws in accordance with Section 31 of Chapter VI of this Act. The OFC shall be reorganized and allocated resources as may be required therefor to effectively pursue such mandate.



Sec. 14. Anti-Competitive Agreements. –

(a) The following agreements, between or among competitors, are per se prohibited:

(1) Restricting competition as to price, or components thereof, or other terms of trade;

(2) Fixing price at an auction or in any form of bidding including cover bidding, bid suppression, bid rotation and market allocation and other analogous practices of bid manipulation;

(b) The following agreements, between or among competitors which have the object or effect of substantially preventing, restricting or lessening competition shall be prohibited:

(1) Setting or controlling production, markets, technical development, or investment;

(2) Dividing or sharing the market, whether by volume of sales or purchases, territory, type of goods or services, buyers or sellers or any other means;

(c) Agreements other than those specified in (a) and (b) of this section which have the object or effect of substantially preventing, restricting or lessening competition shall also be prohibited:Provided, Those which contribute to improving the production or distribution of goods and services or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefits, may not necessarily be deemed a violation of this Act.

An entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another entity or entities, have common economic interests, and are not otherwise able to decide or act independently of each other, shall not be considered competitors for purposes of this section.

SEC. 15. Abuse of Dominant Position. – It shall be prohibited for one or more entities to abuse their dominant position by engaging in conduct that would substantially prevent, restrict or lessen competition:

(a) Selling goods or services below cost with the object of driving competition out of the relevant market: Provided, That in the Commission’s evaluation of this fact, it shall consider whether the entity or entities have no such object and the price established was in good faith to meet or compete with the lower price of a competitor in the same market selling the same or comparable product or service of like quality;

(b) Imposing barriers to entry or committing acts that prevent competitors from growing within the market in an anti-competitive manner except those that develop in the market as a result of or arising from a superior product or process, business acumen, or legal rights or laws;

(c) Making a transaction subject to acceptance by the other parties of other obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the transaction;

(d) Setting prices or other terms or conditions that discriminate unreasonably between customers or sellers of the same goods or services, where such customers or sellers are contemporaneously trading on similar terms and conditions, where the effect may be to lessen competition substantially:Provided, That the following shall be considered permissible price differentials:

(1) Socialized pricing for the less fortunate sector of the economy;

(2) Price differential which reasonably or approximately reflect differences in the cost of manufacture, sale, or delivery resulting from differing methods, technical conditions, or quantities in which the goods or services are sold or delivered to the buyers or sellers;

(3) Price differential or terms of sale offered in response to the competitive price of payments, services or changes in the facilities furnished by a competitor; and

(4) Price changes in response to changing market conditions, marketability of goods or services, or volume;

(e) Imposing restrictions on the lease or contract for sale or trade of goods or services concerning where, to whom, or in what forms goods or services may be sold or traded, such as fixing prices, giving preferential discounts or rebate upon such price, or imposing conditions not to deal with competing entities, where the object or effect of the restrictions is to prevent, restrict or lessen competition substantially: Provided, That nothing contained in this Act shall prohibit or render unlawful:

(1) Permissible franchising, licensing, exclusive merchandising or exclusive distributorship agreements such as those which give each party the right to unilaterally terminate the agreement; or

(2) Agreements protecting intellectual property rights, confidential information, or trade secrets;

(f) Making supply of particular goods or services dependent upon the purchase of other goods or services from the supplier which have no direct connection with the main goods or services to be supplied;

(g) Directly or indirectly imposing unfairly low purchase prices for the goods or services of, among others, marginalized agricultural producers, fisherfolk, micro-, small-, medium-scale enterprises, and other marginalized service providers and producers;

(h) Directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling price on their competitors, customers, suppliers or consumers, provided that prices that develop in the market as a result of or due to a superior product or process, business acumen or legal rights or laws shall not be considered unfair prices; and

(i) Limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers, provided that limitations that develop in the market as a result of or due to a superior product or process, business acumen or legal rights or laws shall not be a violation of this Act:

Provided, That nothing in this Act shall be construed or interpreted as a prohibition on having a dominant position in a relevant market or on acquiring, maintaining and increasing market share through legitimate means that do not substantially prevent, restrict or lessen competition:

Provided, further, That any conduct which contributes to improving production or distribution of goods or services within the relevant market, or promoting technical and economic progress while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit may not necessarily be considered an abuse of dominant position:

Provided, finally, That the foregoing shall not constrain the Commission or the relevant regulator from pursuing measures that would promote fair competition or more competition as provided in this Act.

House Approves Mental Health Bill

According to the Department of Health (DOH), there are more than 4.5 million cases of depression in the Philippines. This report was released in 2004 and the number is more likely to be much higher considering the fact that many are still suffering in silence because of the stigma associated with mental disorders. Severe cases can even lead to death as the person suffering from depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders are not given proper care because family members are not fully aware of the signs and symptoms that they often dismiss it as mood swings. Depression is even misconstrued for laziness, not knowing that sufferers are experiencing more than just the blues and blahs. In most cases, it is already too late for family members to realize that the person is suffering from mental disorder. 

These mental disorders can lead to suicide and most parents will even claim that they do not see a change in behavior in their children prior to committing such an act. However, there is more to depression and other mental disorders than meets the eye. If someone considers these disorders as a mere figment of one's imagination and it is all in the mind, the Mental Health Bill approved by the house of representatives will somehow shed light on the matter and make people more conscious.

House Bill Number 6452 or the "Comprehensive Mental Health Act" ensures that every person gains access to the best available mental health care. 

Objectives of Mental Health Act:

a. Ensure a community of Filipinos who are mentally healthy, able to contribute to the development of the country and attain a better quality of life through access to an integrated, well-planned, effectively organized and efficiently delivered mental health care system that responds to their mental health needs inequity with their physical needs; 

b . Promote mental health, protection of the rights and freedoms of persons with mental health needs and the reduction of the burden and consequences of mental health, mental and brain disorders and disabilities;

c.  Provide the direction for a coherent, rational, and unified response and efforts to address the nation's mental health problems and concerns;

d.  Integrate mental health care in the general health delivery system, especially in the programs of the Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government for the mentally disabled persons; and

e.  Integrate, introduce and promote the study of mental health in both elementary and secondary educational systems to prevent depression, obesity, and teenage pregnancy among students of this age group. 

The bill will be enacted into a law before the year ends. 

Useful Laws For Online Businesses

Aside from brick and mortar stores, many entrepreneurs are now venturing into online businesses for global exposure and wider public reach. Unfortunately, not all online transactions are successful. This is why there are laws, rules and regulations that govern online businesses. These laws protect consumers and business owners to ensure a smooth and problem-free transaction. 

1. Republic Act No. 8792 or Electronic Commerce Act of 2000

This Act aims to facilitate domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements agreements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic, optical and similar medium, mode, instrumentality and technology to recognize the authenticity and reliability of electronic documents related to such activities and to promote the universal use of electronic transaction in the government and general public.

2. Executive No. 810, s.2009 Institutionalizing The Certification Scheme For Digital Signatures And Directing The Application Of Digital Signatures In E-Government Services

The Rules on Electronic Evidence issued by the Supreme Court in 2001 in accordance with the provisions of the Electronic Commerce Act, defines digital signature as “an electronic signature consisting of a transformation of an electronic document or an electronic data message using an asymmetric or public cryptosystem such that a person having the initial untransformed electronic document and the signer’s public key can accurately determine: (i) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer’s public key; and (ii) whether the initial electronic document had been altered after the transformation was made.

3. Executive Order No. 482, s.2005 or Creating The National Single Window Task Force For Cargo Clearance

SEC. 4. Functions of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for the following:

a. Setting of policy guidelines for the creation and operation of the NSW and the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) thereafter;

b. Crafting of financial schemes and strategies to finance the activities and projects under the NSW from its inception up to its operations to ensure sustainability; and

c. Ensuring the effective and efficient implementation of the NSW and ASW thereafter.

4. Executive Order No. 334, s. 2004 or Abolishing The Information Technology And Electronic Commerce Council And Transferring Its Budget, Assets, Personnel, Programs And Projects To The Commission on Information And Communications Technology

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), created pursuant to Executive Order No. 269 dated 12 January 2004, functions as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating, and administrative entity for ICT of the Executive Branch of the Government;

It is desirable to centralize all ICT and ICT-related programs and projects, functions and initiatives in one government agency;

The government recognizes that the development of ICT will have a higher chance of success and sustainability if it is private sector-led, market-based and government-enabled; and

There is a need for close coordination between the government and the private sector for the promotion and continued growth and development of ICT in the country.

5. Republic Act No. 9184 or The Government Procurement Reform Act

This 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations, hereinafter called the IRR, is promulgated pursuant to Section 75 of Republic Act No. (R.A.) 9184, otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act,” for the purpose of prescribing the necessary rules and regulations for the modernization, standardization, and regulation of the procurement activities of the Government of the Philippines (GoP).

What Happens To The SSS Death Benefit When The Primary Beneficiary Remarries?

A spouse who is the primary beneficiary of a deceased member is entitled to death benefit if two qualifying factors are established: 1) that he/she is the legitimate spouse; and 2) that he/she is dependent upon the member for support. 

What if the spouse remarries? Will he/she still be entitled to the same benefits? As specified under Sections 8 and 13 of the Republic Act No. 1161, as amended otherwise known as Social Security (SS) Law, "Upon the covered employee's death, his primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to the monthly pension and his dependents to the dependents' pension: Provided, That he has paid at least thirty-six monthly contributions prior to the semester of death: Provided, further, That if the foregoing condition is not satisfied his primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit equivalent to thirty-five times the monthly pension: Provided, further, That if he has no primary beneficiaries, his secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit equivalent to twenty times the monthly pension: Provided, however, That the minimum death benefit shall not be less than the total contributions paid by him and his employer on his behalf nor less than one thousand pesos: Provided, finally, That the beneficiaries of the covered employee who dies without having paid at least three monthly contributions shall be entitled to the minimum benefit. (As amended by Sec. 5, P.D. No. 1202, S-1977 and Sec. 8, P.D. No. 1636, S-1979)"

Factual Antecedents

On August 5, 2002, respondent Teresa G. Favila (Teresa) filed a Petition6 before petitioner SSC docketed as SSC Case No. 8-15348-02. She averred therein that after she was married to Florante Favila (Florante) on January 17, 1970, the latter designated her as the sole beneficiary in the E-1 Form he submitted before petitioner Social Security System (SSS), Quezon City Branch on June 30, 1970. When they begot their children Jofel, Floresa and Florante II, her husband likewise designated each one of them as beneficiaries. Teresa further averred that when Florante died on February 1, 1997, his pension benefits under the SSS were given to their only minor child at that time, Florante II, but only until his emancipation at age 21. Believing that as the surviving legal wife she is likewise entitled to receive Florante’s pension benefits, Teresa subsequently filed her claim for said benefits before the SSS. The SSS, however, denied the claim in a letter dated January 31, 2002, hence, the petition.

In its Answer,7 SSS averred that on May 6, 1999, the claim for Florante’s pension benefits was initially settled in favor of Teresa as guardian of the minor Florante II. Per its records, Teresa was paid the monthly pension for a total period of 57 months or from February 1997 to October 2001 when Florante II reached the age of 21. The claim was, however, re-adjudicated on July 11, 2002 and the balance of the five-year guaranteed pension was again settled in favor of Florante II.8 SSS also alleged that Estelita Ramos, sister of Florante, wrote a letter9 stating that her brother had long been separated from Teresa. She alleged therein that the couple lived together for only ten years and then decided to go their separate ways because Teresa had an affair with a married man with whom, as Teresa herself allegedly admitted, she slept with four times a week. SSS also averred that an interview conducted in Teresa’s neighborhood in Tondo, Manila on September 18, 1998 revealed that although she did not cohabit with another man after her separation with Florante, there were rumors that she had an affair with a police officer. To support Teresa’s non-entitlement to the benefits claimed, SSS cited the provisions of Sections 8(k) and 13 of Republic Act (RA) No. 1161, as amended otherwise known as Social Security (SS) Law.10

Ruling of the Social Security Commission

In a Resolution11 dated June 4, 2003, SSC held that the surviving spouse’s entitlement to an SSS member’s death benefits is dependent on two factors which must concur at the time of the latter’s death, to wit: (1) legality of the marital relationship; and (2) dependency for support. As to dependency for support, the SSC opined that same is affected by factors such as separation de facto of the spouses, marital infidelity and such other grounds sufficient to disinherit a spouse under the law. Thus, although Teresa is the legal spouse and one of Florante’s designated beneficiaries, the SSC ruled that she is disqualified from claiming the death benefits because she was deemed not dependent for support from Florante due to marital infidelity. Under Section 8(k) of the SS Law, the dependent spouse until she remarries is entitled to death benefits as a primary beneficiary, together with the deceased member’s legitimate minor children. According to SSC, the word "remarry" under said provision has been interpreted as to include a spouse who cohabits with a person other than his/her deceased spouse or is in an illicit relationship. This is for the reason that no support is due to such a spouse and to allow him/her to enjoy the member’s death benefits would be tantamount to circumvention of the law. Even if a spouse did not cohabit with another, SSC went on to state that for purposes of the SS Law, it is sufficient that the separation in-fact of the spouses was precipitated by an adulterous act since the actual absence of support from the member is evident from such separation. Notable in this case is that while Teresa denied having remarried or cohabited with another man, she did not, however, deny her having an adulterous relationship. SSC therefore concluded that Teresa was not dependent upon Florante for support and consequently disqualified her from enjoying her husband’s death benefits.

SSC further held that Teresa did not timely contest her non-entitlement to the award of benefits. It was only when Florante II’s pension was stopped that she deemed it wise to file her claim. For SSC, Teresa’s long silence led SSS to believe that she really suffered from a disqualification as a beneficiary, otherwise she would have immediately protested her non-entitlement. It thus opined that Teresa is now estopped from claiming the benefits. Hence, SSC dismissed the petition for lack of merit.