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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 April, 2020

ISSUANCE OF TEMPORARY VAT CERTIFICATE AND VAT IDENTIFICATION CARD DURING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ECQ

On 17 April 2020, the BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No, 44-2020 to address the concerns of Resident Foreign Missions (either an embassy or consulate) for the temporary issuance of VAT certificates (VC) and VAT Identification Cards (VICs) for the following personnel:

  1. Newly-accredited RFM personnel who are qualified for the grant of point of sale VAT exemption, as endorsed by the Office of Protocol of the Department of Affairs;
  1. RFMs, RFM personnel and their dependents who will apply for the renewal of their expired Vcs and VICs during the effectivity of ECQ;

BIR shall temporarily issue Electronic VCs and VICs valid until 30 August 2020. All issued electronic copies of the VCs and VICs shall be renewed within thirty (30) days from the lifting of ECQ and must comply with RMO 10-2019.

All business establishments shall grant a point of sale VAT exemptions upon the presentation of the following: (1) electronic copies of VC and VIC and (2) his electronic copy of accreditation or valid DFA protocol ID. All RFMs or its duly authorized representative shall present the following: (1) VC issued to the RFM, (2) ID of the authorized person; and (3) Special Power of Attorney or authorization letter upon purchase.

For queries, updates and other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through the following:

Email: mfl@mflegal.com.ph;
Website: http://mfbr.com.ph;
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MFLBR2009


BIR REITERATES THE MANNER OF FILING OF RETURNS AND PAYMENT OF INTERNAL REVENUE TAXES DURING THE ECQ

On 15 April 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular 43-2020 which provides for the payment of internal revenue taxes in consideration to the extension of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

Taxpayers who intend to pay their internal revenue taxes due while the Enhanced Community Quarantine is in effect can pay the same as follows:

  1. Payments can be made thru the nearest Authorized Agent Banks (i.e.,Land Bank, Union Bank, Security Bank, etc.)  notwithstanding the Revenue District Office jurisdiction;
  • Filing and Payment of the corresponding tax thereon can be made to the concerned Revenue Collection Officers (RCO) of the nearest Revenue District Office, even in areas where there are Authorized Agent Banks.

Provided that the payment of revenue taxes in cash should not exceed twenty thousand pesos (PHP 20,000) while those payments made in checks will have no limitation if the same is made with the RCO in the district. Provided further that all checks shall be made payable to “Bureau of Internal Revenue” and the name of the receiving bank branch may no longer be indicated in the check for tax payment.

For queries, updates and other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through the following:

Email: mfl@mflegal.com.ph;
Website: http://mfbr.com.ph;
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MFLBR2009


Advisory on Accreditation of Manufacturers of COVID-19 Related Products

By: Saliha Naila A. Abdullah

Photo courtesy of: Rappler

On 01 April 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) issued a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-02, which authorizes the grant of support, in the form of liberalizing investment incentives, for manufacturers or producers, suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers of packaging materials, and suppliers of raw materials for the packaging of COVID-19-related products. A full text of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-02 may be accessed through: http://boi.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/DOF-DTI-JMC-2020-02_final.pdf

The liberalization by DTI and DOF on the grant of incentives for the manufacturing of critical COVID-19-related equipment and supplies has the objective of ensuring the availability of these essential goods and minimizing disruptions in the supply chain.

The said joint memorandum circular covers the following covid-19-related products:

(a) Medicine identified as critical and necessity by the Department of Health;

(b) Medical equipment and devices such as test kits, thermometers, thermal scanners, ventilators;

(c) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);

(d) Surgical equipment and supplies;

(e) Laboratory equipment and its reagents;

(f) Support and maintenance for laboratory and medical equipment;

(g) Medical supplies, tools and consumables, such as alcohol, sanitizers, tissue, hand soap, detergent, sodium hydrochloride, cleaning materials, povidone iodine, and common medicines;

(h) Such other supplies or equipment as may be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) and other relevant government agencies;

Raw materials and packaging materials exclusively used for the production of the above-enumerated products shall also be covered.

Likewise, the qualified enterprises comprising the supply chain to ensure availability of the covered products are as follows:

(a) Manufacturer or producer;

(b) Suppliers of raw materials;

(c) Manufacturer of packaging materials; and

(d) Suppliers of raw materials for the packaging.

The duly-accredited or qualified manufacturers and suppliers of COVID-19-related products are exempt from import duties, taxes and fees such as import processing fees and other fees imposed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other relevant agencies.

In line with the above-mentioned mandate, DTI, through the Board of Investments (BOI), is accepting applications for accreditation of manufacturers of COVID-19-related products starting April 15, 2020.

Those enterprises applying for accreditation shall submit a duly filled application Form 1 JMC No. 2020-02, and shall comply with the documentary requirements enumerated in the checklist provided in Form 2 JMC No. 2020-02. The documentary requirements may be submitted through BOI’s email: JMCAccreditation@boi.gov.ph.

In order to avail the exemption from import duties, taxes, and other fees, the accredited enterprise or IPA-registered manufacturer must first secure a Certificate of Authority (CA) from the BOI, provided that such importations are reasonably needed and will be used exclusively in the manufcature of the registered products. A copy of the application for CA or Form 3 JMC No. 2020-02 is downloadable at the official website of BOI. CA Applications may be submitted through email at: JMCcertificateofauthority@boi.gov.ph. Please stay tuned for new issuances and releases from the national government. We will accordingly provide updates as new announcements are given from time to time.


Indigent Senior Citizens To Receive Pension Worth 6 Months in Advance

By: Saliha Naila A. Abdullah

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is the leading agency in social protection and is mandated to ensure a better quality of life of every Filipino citizen. Since the Philippines is under a State of Public Health Emergency, the DSWD issued Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 2020 which lay down special guidelines on provision of Social Amelioration, the continuation of the Implementation of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, and Supplementary Feeding Programs.

Under the said Memorandum, the payout pertinent to the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SocPen) Program shall be continued to ensure that the objectives of the said program shall be attained during the Covid-19 crisis, when it is most needed by its beneficiaries.

The provision of a monthly stipend in the form of outright cash in the amount of Five Hundred Pesos (Php 500.00) is provided to senior citizens eligible under the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program (SocPen). The pension aims to assist Senior Citizens in providing for their basic needs, such as food and medicines, among others. The stipend is computed per semester consistent with DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 2019. The list of beneficiaries are those registered and listed under the Social Pension Information System (SPIS) of the DSWD.

Once listed in the SPIS, the beneficiary shall only present his/her Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) Identification Card to the LGU to claim the stipend. Concerns relating to qualification, acceptance, or replacement of beneficiaries shall be governed by the processes as stated in the said guidelines.

The beneficiaries shall be strictly limited to the list in the SPIS of the DSWD. Senior citizens not included in the SPIS shall be immediately validated and subjected to eligibility testing. The process of qualification or replacement shall be consistent with the guidelines under DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 2019. Only after said senior citizen is listed as beneficiary in the SPIS shall he/she receive the stipend.

Recently, Senior Citizens Party-list Representative Francisco Datol Jr. has informed the public that he requested for the advance pension payment from President Rodrigo Duterte last March. Likewise, DSWD confirmed that the said request was approved and that the funds were already downloaded to LandBank.

Instead of receiving a monthly stipend of Php 500, qualified indigent senior citizens will be receiving six months’ worth of their pension or the amount of Three Thousand Pesos (Php 3,000.00) in advance to help them sustain their basic needs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This initiative by the government intends to ensure that Filipino Senior citizens will be able to continuously cope during the present crisis brought by the threat of COVID-19.

Presently, DSWD has not yet issued guidelines on the issuance of a six months’ worth of Senior Citizens’ pension. Please stay tuned for new issuances and releases from the national government. We will accordingly provide updates as new announcements from the national government are given from time to time. Stay safe!


Hearing Suspension and Deadline Extension

By: Atty. Cindy T. Climaco

Photo courtesy of: www.becklaw.ca

(NOTE: As of today’s posting,President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has announced the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and “all other high risk” provinces in Luzon until May 15, 2020. Since the SC Administrative Circular discussed here was issued in light of the first ECQ extension lasting until April 30, 2020, it is reasonably expected that the subject circular will likewise be updated.  Hence, any such modification that will be subsequently issued will likewise be posted once it becomes available.)

On 17 March 2020, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared that the entire Luzon will be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) which will last until 13 April 2020.

However, due to the increasing growth of COVID-19 cases in the country, President Duterte decided to extend the ECQ until 30 April 2020.

In line with the announcement, the Supreme Court issued Administrative Circular (“AC”) No. 34-2020, which provides:

  1. All courts nationwide shall remain physically closed to all court users until 30 April 2020, and may be reached only through their respective hotline numbers, email addresses and/or Facebook accounts as posted on the website of the Supreme Court.
  • While the courts shall remain physically closed to all court users, the courts shall continue to operate from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, Monday to Friday, until 30 April 2020. All electronic communications however must be transmitted by court users from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • The online filing of criminal complaints and informations, posting of bail, and submission of other urgent pleadings shall continue to be in effect until 30 April 2020.
  • The scheduling of justices- and judges-on-duty, together with the skeleton-staff, shall continue until 30 April 2020, so that urgent matters may be addressed.
  • Night courts and Saturday courts shall remain suspended until 30 April 2020.
  • All hearings nationwide, except on urgent matters, shall remain suspended until 30 April 2020.
  • The filing of petitions and appeals, complaints, motions, pleadings and other court submissions that fall due up to 30 April 2020 is extended for 30 calendar days, counted from 1 May 2020, but pleadings and other court submissions may still be filed by the parties within the reglementary period on or before 30 April 2020 through electronic means, if available.
  • All court actions on non-urgent matters, scheduled until 30 April 2020 are likewise suspended.
  • The periods for court actions with prescribed periods are also extended for 30 calendar days counted from 1 May 2020.
  1. All justices and judges shall continue to draft decisions and orders in their respective residences until 30 April 2020, which decisions and orders shall be promulgated or issued once the courts are fully operational.
  1. All official meetings, seminars, trainings and other functions in the Judiciary are deferred until 30 April 2020, except those that may be called or authorized by the Chief Justice or by the Judiciary Task Force on COVID-19.
  1. Flag raising and retreat ceremonies are likewise suspended until 30 April 2020.

Suspension of DOLE’s CAMP and its Impending Resumption

By: Ira Christele G. Vicente

Formerly, the Department of Labor and Employment introduced the COVID-19 Adjustment Program (CAMP) where affected workers due to the pandemic are given a one-time financial assistance amounting to Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). One Billion Six Hundred Million Pesos (P1,600,000,000) was allocated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as budget for DOLE’s financial assistance programs to aid displaced workers. In its previous releases, DOLE, as well as the national government, ensured that there would be sufficient funds for the implementation of the said program.

However, on 16 April 2020, DOLE released a Statement regarding the suspension of the acceptance of online application for financial assistance under CAMP for formal sectors. Primarily, the suspension was due to the impending depletion of the available funds of the Department for CAMP. Further, they explained that from 23 March 2020 to 18 April 2020, the utilized funds amounted to One Billion Three Hundred Twenty Million Pesos (P1,320,000,000) which were given to a total of Two Hundred Sixty-Four Thousand One Hundred Fifty-Four (264,154) workers from Ten Thousand Six Hundred Sixty-Three (10,663) establishments. Furthermore, the sudden upsurge of online applications was brought about by the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine to 30 April 2020 (which was originally until 15 April 2020).

The following are the areas which recorded the highest displacement of workers:

  1. Metro manila = 570,523
  2. Central Luzon = 274,910
  3. CALABARZON = 123,687
  4. Davao Region = 100,275
  5. Region 10 = 94,101
  6. Region 2 = 86,467
  7. Central Visayas = 86,250
  8. Cordillera Region = 61,200
  9. Region 6 = 59,548
  10. Bicol Region = 57,205
  11. MIMAROPA = 51,167
  12. CARAGA = 36,390

On the other hand, the following areas reported the least affected workers:

  • Region 8 = 33,649
  • Region 1 = 32,017
  • Region 9 = 30,530
  • Region 12 = 17,895

Alternatively, President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program to provide a wage subsidy for affected employees of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in mitigating the effects of the implementation of the ECQ. For more information, kindly click this link: http://mfbr.com.ph/2020/04/22/overview-the-small-business-wage-subsidy-sbws-program/.

Fortunately, on 19 April 2020, DOLE, in its news release, is seeing the possibility of resuming its cash assistance program to workers in the formal sector with initiatives in Congress calling for the augmentation of additional funds for DOLE’s emergency subsidy program. The said proposal was urged by Senators Joel Villanueva and Christopher Bong Go.

As of 17 April 2020, displaced workers were recorded to stand at One Million Six Hundred Ninety-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Fourteen (1,696,814) from Sixty-Three Thousand Three Hundred Thirty-Five (63,335) establishments nationwide.

In the interim, we can only hope and pray that the efforts of the lawmakers would yield to positive results, and ultimately resume the grant of the P5,000 financial assistance to affected workers under the CAMP.

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.


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