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MFBR lawyers and associates care!

In light of the constantly changing social and economic landscape in the world due to COVID-19, everyone at Mallari Fiel Brillante Ronquillo has taken steps to make good our steadfast commitment to serve our clients and our communities.

To this end, we designed a new business model incorporating the traditional “brick and mortar” and “virtual” law offices. This new model is to achieve the continuity of rendering our legal and business consultancy services to clients and friends, and the immediate implementation of our crisis management and business transformation activities.

Thus, we’re glad to announce that for every fortnight, half of our team will be physically present at our offices from Monday thru Friday, 8:00am to 3:00pm. Clients and our friends can reach us through our office phones and online platforms (website, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zoom, etc.). And to ensure the health and safety of our staff, they have the option to be housed in the Firm’s private residence or shuttled back and forth using the company’s private vehicle. Safety protocols are also observed at our offices.

Finally, our team has prepared a series of materials around the impact of COVID-19 and related considerations. Please take time to view our sample articles and research published in our website. A complete listing and discussion of these articles are available in our newsletter to be distributed to our esteemed clients.

Should you have questions, please reach out to our Office Manager, Argie Macawile, at +632 86953395, +63977 8502357; or email our Managing Partner, Atty. Rob Mallari, at mfl@mflegal.com.ph and rpmallari@mflegal.com.ph.

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Archive for March, 2020

SEC Internal Guidelines on Attendance in Meetings via Teleconferencing

Courtesy of: fintechphilippines (Photo)

In view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission issued SEC Memorandum Circular No. 6, Series of 2020, providing “Guidelines on the Attendance and Participation of Directors, Trustees, Stockholders, Members, and Other Persons of Corporations in Regular and Special Meetings through Teleconferencing, Video Conferencing and Other Remote or Electronic Means of Communication”.

Here are the salient points of the Memorandum:

  1. Board meetings may be conducted through remote communication. Note, however, that directors cannot attend or vote by proxy at board meetings.
  2. Corporations may issue their own internal procedures for the conduct of board meetings through remote communication or other alternative modes of communication to address administrative, technical and logistical issues.
  3. A majority of the directors as stated in the articles of incorporation shall constitute a quorum. A director who participates through remote communication, shall be deemed present for the purpose of attaining quorum.
  4. At the start of the meeting, the Presiding Officer shall instruct the Corporate Secretary to make a roll call. Every attendee shall state for the record the following: (a) Full name and position; (b) Location;(c) Confirmation that he/she can clearly hear and/or see the other attendees; (d) Confirmation that he/she received the Notice of the Meeting including the agenda and materials; and (e) Specify the device being used (ie., smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, television, etc.)
  5. Participation in stockholder meetings, including the right to vote, may likewise be done remotely, as long as provided for in the bylaws or by majority of the board of directors.

In sum, the Memorandum makes it possible for the board of directors to issue resolutions and decide on corporate acts during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

The full text of SEC Memorandum Circular No. 6, Series of 2020 may be found on this link: http://www.sec.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020MCNo06.pdf

For further queries on this matter or other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through our email: mfl@mflegal.com.ph, and our website at http://mfbr.com.ph.


ADDITIONAL ADVISORY FOR INBOUND/OUTBOUND INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS

Courtesy of: Manila Bulletin News (Photo)

The  Office of the President through a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated 16 March 2020  provided for  the Community Quarantine Over the Entire Luzon and Further Guidelines for Management of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Situation. Two days after, another memorandum dated 18 March 2020 from the same office was issued modifying some of the provisions of the previous 16 March 2020 memorandum.

Accordingly, among others, it imparts that all outbound international passengers shall be allowed to leave.  Hence:

Section 2(A) of the said Memorandum provides:

  • Existing travel restrictions to Filipinos shall remain in place.

Exceptions:

  • Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), balikbayans, and foreign nationals shall be allowed to leave the Philippines at any time.
    • If traveling within Luzon for the purpose of such international travel, proof of international travel itinerary, with departure schedules within twenty-four (24) hours from leaving residence or accommodation, must be presented.
    • All departing passengers may be accompanied by not more than one (1) person when traveling to any international port.
    • The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration may provide transportation services to OFWs intending to leave for abroad.

With respect to inbound international travelers who are foreigners, they will no longer be allowed entry in the Philippines. This was confirmed on 19 March 2020 by the  Department of Foreign Affairs (“DFA”)  which announced the temporary suspension of visa issuance in all its Foreign Service Posts, effective immediately. With such announcement, all previously issued visas will be cancelled and foreigners with visas issued by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts would not be allowed entry in the Philippines. Thus, foreigners will be temporarily banned from entering the Philippines starting March 22, 2020 per the Department of Transportation’s advice This advisory has a limited application and shall not affect the foreigners that are already in the Philippines or foreigners staying here in the Philippines who are issued with or holding visas.

We hope that you will be guided by the above information. The Law Firm of Mallari Fiel Brillante Ronquillo and all its associates and staff wish for your well-being at all times.For your updates, concerns and queries, you may send your message and interact with us by liking and following our Facebook page and website at  http://mfbr.com.ph/


Part II: COVID-19 ADJUSTMENT MEASURES PROGRAM (CAMP)

Note: This is Part II of a two-part article on the Department of Labor and Employment’s issuances relating to COVID-19. Part I is here link of Part I.

As previously discussed, under Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Labor Advisory No. 11 Series of 2020, employees’ leave of absence during the quarantine period are to be charged against their leave credits, and the remaining unpaid leaves during the said period may be covered and subjected to the conditions provided under DOLE’s proposed COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program.

On 17 March 2020, the DOLE released DOLE Department Order No. 209, Series of 2020, specifying the Guidelines on the Adjustment Measures Program for Affected Workers due to the Corona Virus Disease – 2019 (COVID-19).

What is CAMP?

CAMP is a safety net program that offers financial support to affected workers in private establishments that have adopted flexible working arrangements or temporary closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who are referred to as affected workers?

These are workers in private establishments whose employment face or suffer interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:

  1. Retained workers who do not receive regular wage – workers whose working hours and, therefore, regular wage is reduced due to the implementation of Flexible Working Arrangements as defined under DOLE Labor Advisory No. 09, Series of 2020; and
  2. Suspended workers – workers whose employment is temporarily suspended by reason of suspension of operations of the employer’s business establishment.

What are the Flexible Working Arrangements recognized by the DOLE?

Under DOLE Labor Advisory No. 09, Series of 2020, the following are the flexible working arrangements which may be considered by employers:

  1. Reduction of Workhours and/or Workdays – on where the normal workhours or workdays per week are reduced.
  2. Rotation of Workers – one where the employees are rotated or alternately provided work within the week;
  3. Forced Leave – one where the employees are required to go on leave for several days or weeks utilizing their leave credits, if there are any.

Who may avail the CAMP?

Private Establishments that has implemented FWAs or temporary closure due to COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the requirements necessary in order to avail the CAMP?

Affected establishments must submit the following:

  1. Establishment Report on the COVID-19 pursuant to Labor Advisory No. 09, Series of 2020; and
  2. Company Payroll for the month prior the implementation of FWAs or temporary closure.

What are the procedures in availing the CAMP?

  1. Submission of complete documentary requirements online to the appropriate DOLE Regional Office or any of its Provincial/Field Offices;
  2. Evaluation of the applications by the concerned DOLE Regional Office within three (3) working days from receipt thereof;
  3. Issuance of a notice to the applicant within three (3) working days from evaluation. The Notice may either be:
  4. Notice of Approval, in case of approved applications; or
  5. Notice of Denial, in case of denied applications.

An application for CAMP may be denied in the following cases:

  1. Ineligibility of applicant;
  2. Misrepresentation of facts in application;
  3. Submission of falsified or tampered document.
  4. In case of approval of the application, the concerned DOLE regional office shall issue the financial support directly to the beneficiary’s payroll account through bank transfer within two (2) weeks upon receipt.
  5. Issuance of Notice of Completion shall be issued to the affected establishment within three (3) working days through electronic mail (e-mail).

How much will the employee be getting as financial assistance under the CAMP?

A one-time financial assistance equivalent to Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) shall be provided to affected workers in lump sum, non-conditional, regardless of employment status.

The private sector and the labor are of equal importance in maintaining economic stability during this pandemic. Employers and employees should not be in feud with each other and must in fact be in coordination in enduring this trial. For further queries on this matter or other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through our email: mfl@mflegal.com.ph, and our website at http://mfbr.com.ph.

By: Ira Christele G. Vicente


Part I: How will I be compensated during the Enhanced Community Quarantine?

Courtesy of ABS-CBN (Photo)

With the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the whole Luzon region as directed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, people are left with no choice but to stay at their respective houses in hopes of containing the massive transmission of the Corona Virus Disease – 2019 (COVID – 2019).

With nothing to do, they are left to ponder on the thought of how they are going to survive for the next month with abundant expenses, but meager income inflow, or none at all.

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through Secretary Silvestre H. Bello, III (Sec. Bello), issued Labor Advisory No. 01 Series of 2020 dated 13 January 2020 discussing the payment of wages in case of work suspension in the private sector due to natural or man-made calamities. The rules are as follows:

  1. If unworked – no pay, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages on said day. When the employee has accrued leave credits, he/she may be allowed to utilize such leave so that he/she will have compensation on said days.
  2. If worked – no additional pay shall be given to the employees but only their salary on said day.

The Advisory further states that to alleviate the situation of the employees, the employers may provide such extra incentives or benefits to employees who reported to work on the said days. We emphasize that this is discretionary upon the employer by the usage of the word “may”.

This Advisory may be read with Labor Advisory No. 11 Series of 2020 dated 14 March 2020 discoursing the supplemental guidelines relative to the remedial measures in view of the on-going pandemic of COVID – 2019. In light of the current situation and the suspension of work in the private sector, the DOLE Advisory explicitly states that:

The leaves of absences during the community quarantine period shall be charged against the workers’ existing leave credits, if any. Remaining unpaid leaves during the said period may be covered and be subject to the conditions provided in the DOLE’s proposed COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program.

From the foregoing, this shall mean that if the employee has unused leave credits, he/she may utilize the same in order to be paid. We would like to emphasize that this is discretionary upon the employee, and he/she may not be forced by his/her employer to utilize his/her leave credits. If his/her leave credits do not suffice, then the remaining unpaid leave credits may be covered and be subject to the conditions provided in the DOLE’s proposed COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). To date, the DOLE has not yet issued CAMP.

For employees who are identified as Persons Under Investigation (PUI) or Persons Under Monitoring of COVID-19, they will be paid during their quarantine period regardless if they filed their leave credits or not.

To simplify and summarize the contents of the Advisories, the “no work, no pay” principle applies except when the company policy, collective bargaining agreement, or company practice provides otherwise, or in case of employer’s generosity and consideration. Should the employee have unused leave credits, he/she may utilize the same in order to be compensated during the days that he/she is absent by reason of work suspension in the private sector (e.g. Enhanced Community Quarantine). Should there be remaining unpaid leave credits, this may be paid in accord with the conditions set forth under DOLE’s proposed CAMP.

Let’s all hope for the best, and together we will endure this pandemic.

For further queries on this matter or other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through our email: mfl@mflegal.com.ph, and our website at http://mfbr.com.ph. Update (as of 17 March 2020): For further information, kindly click this link for the guidelines in availing the CAMP – link of Part II

By: Ira Christele G. Vicente


CONFIRMED. BIR has extended the filing of AITR to 15 May 2020

On 18 March 2020, The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued a Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 28-2020 amending Circular No. 25-2020 which previously declared that filing of income tax return will not be extended.

Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 28-2020 provides for the extension of the filing of 2019 Annual Income Tax Return from 15 April 2020 to 15 May 2020 without imposition of penalties to its taxpayers.


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