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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 and


COVID-19 Testing for Returning Workers is Not Required

By: Atty. Bayani B. Brillante, Jr.

For the benefit of the general public and the business sector, per Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) clarification, it was categorically confirmed that the National Government DOES NOT REQUIRE Covid-19 testing of all employees before they will be allowed to return to work.

This advisory is consistent with those of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Memorandum No. 2020-0220 and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATFs’  Omnibus Guidelines ( Section 8 [4 ]) dated 15 May 2020 which provides that in no case shall the testing of all returning workers be construed as a condition precedent for his/her return.

In accordance with the DOH guidelines, returning employees and workers physically reporting to their place of employment shall be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, colds and other respiratory symptoms, and/or relevant history of travel or exposure within the last 14 days. Those who are SYMPTOMATIC with relevant history of travel/exposure on the date of work resumption shall not be allowed to physically return to work and must consult with their primary care provider. As the gold standard, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing will be administered only to this group who are SYMPTOMATIC and/or SUSPECTED of having COVID-19. The rest of employees who are ASYMPTOMATIC within the last fourteen (14) days prior to the date of work resumption can be cleared to physically return to work.

Further to this, companies also have the OPTION to conduct testing for all their employees especially those who are ASYMPTOMATIC but have a high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work, exposure or travel history. Such testing may be done  in a representative sample of those who have returned to work using RT-PCR to look for any evidence of asymptomatic transmitters. The next action to be taken by the concerned company shall depend on the results. Thus:

a. If tested positive, the returning employee/worker is a COVID-19 case and will be isolated and referred accordingly for appropriate management. All close contacts shall be isolated and tested accordingly based on Department Memorandum 2020-0180.

b. If found negative, returning employee and worker can continue working with usual precautions.

c. If initially tested negative but developed symptoms, the employee must be tested accordingly based on Department Memorandum 2020-0180.

i. If found positive, all close contacts of returning employees and workers shall be isolated and tested accordingly based on Department Memorandum 2020-0180.

d. Employers shall report the results to DOH in accordance with Administrative Order No. 2020-0013, entitled “Revised Guidelines for the Inclusion of COVID-19 in the List of Notifiable Diseases for Mandatory Reporting to the Department of Health” and Administrative Order No. 2020-0014 entitled “Guidelines in Securing a License to Operate a COVID-19 Testing Laboratory in the Philippines.”

Alternatively, testing using FDA-approved rapid antibody-based tests among representative samples for baseline can also be conducted up to every 14 days.

The cost of testing not covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) shall be borne by the employer. But this also means the employer can reimburse the cost from PhilHealth up to the amount allowed and under such conditions sanctioned by PhilHealth. One of these conditions is that testing must be in accordance with DOH protocols.

In closing and to reiterate, PCR testing is not required for all  employees but only for those who are symptomatic and are suspected of having COVID-19 following DOH protocol.


  2. DOH Department Memorandum No.2020-0220
  3. Omnibus Guidelines On The Implementation of Community Quarantine In The Philippines dated 15 May 2020


By: Atty. Bayani B. Brillante, Jr.

To ease out the economic and financial burden of Filipinos during and after the Enhanced Community Quarantine  (ECQ) which was extended until April 30, 2020,  the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued Memorandum Circular No. 20-12  Series of 2020 on April 4, 2020. The memorandum embodied the guidelines on the 30-day moratorium on residential and commercial rents for MSMEs (micro, small, medium enterprises) which ceased operations during the ECQ. This move was made pursuant to Section 4(aa) of RA 11469, otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” and the  IATF-EID Resolution No. 18 Series of 2020 dated 01 April 2020. Accordingly, these measures will ensure that Filipinos will have a future after the ECQ with homes that they can live in and through jobs and employment provided by MSMEs.


The relief will be extended to (1) residential rents, and (2) commercial rents of MSMEsthat have ceased operations due to the ECQ.

Particularly, “residential rent” shall mean any amount paid for the use or occupancy of a residential unit, regardless of the mode and terms of payment. “Residential unit” shall refer to bed spaces, rooms, dormitories, apartments, houses, buildings, and/or land on which another’s dwelling is located used principally for residential or dwelling purposes.

On the other hand, “commercial rent” shall mean any amount paid for the use or occupancy of any other property used principally for commercial purposes, which denote any activity for which profit as the main aim or revenue is received. “MSMEs” refer to any business activity or enterprise engaged in industry, agribusiness and/or services, whether single proprietorship, cooperative, partnership or corporation whose total assets inclusive of those arising from loans but exclusive of the land on which the particular business entity’s office, plant and equipment are situated, must have value falling under the following categories:

  1. Micro : not more than P3,000,000

b.)  Small : P3,000,001 – P15,000,000

c.)  Medium : P15,000,001 – P100,000,000

Application of Concession

A minimum of thirty (30)-day grace period shall be granted on residential and commercial rents (of MSMEs that have temporarily ceased operations within the period of the ECQ) falling due within the period of the ECQ, without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges. The cumulative amount of rents falling due within the ECQ, shall be equally amortized in the six (6) months following the end of the ECQ, and shall be added to the rents due on those succeeding months, without interest, penalties, fees, and charges. The minimum thirty (30)-day grace period is considered to be the 30 calendar days following the last due date of the rent which fell due within the ECQ.

Notwithstanding this mandated thirty (30)-day grace period, the lessors of the commercial unit may freely grant a more favorable term and condition that would mitigate the impact of ECQ to the lessee MSME’s.

For the MSME’s to be eligible to the moratorium, they shall signify to their respective lessors their request for assistance by providing supporting documents, such as, but not limited to, financial statements as proof of enterprise size, and/or lease contracts as proof of tenancy.

Non-enforcement of Eviction, Filing of Complaint and Penalty

In addition to the 30-day grace period, lessors are barred to enforce eviction in case of non-payment of the residential or commercial rent due. Such prohibition is imposed within the thirty (30)-day period after the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Any violation of the concessions may be brought before DTI’s Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) or DTI Regional Offices either in person or electronically (via Upon findings of violation, appropriate criminal charge/s will be filed against the lessor before the Department of Justice (DOJ), without prejudice to the filing of other administrative cases.

Correspondingly, the lessors who shall refuse to provide 30-day grace period or the non-enforcement of eviction to lessees shall be penalized with imprisonment of not less than two (2) months or a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (Php 10,000.00), or both, such imprisonment and fine, at the discretion of the court.

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:

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By: Atty. Bayani B. Brillante, Jr.

The National Government under the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” had been empowered to provide an emergency subsidy to an estimated eighteen (18) million low income families. This is in recognition of the struggle of the many Filipino families for economic survival caused by the protocols imposed relative to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon since 17 March 2020. 

The emergency subsidy shall dispense cash or non- cash assistance in the amount of at least  Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) to a maximum of Eight Thousand Pesos (PhP 8,000.00) a month for two (2) months (April and May 2020)  to provide for basic food, medicine, and toiletries. The subsidy shall be computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates and the existing subsidy programs of the local and national government like the DSWD’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program and the rice subsidy program, estimated at an average of Php 2,150.00 per month per family. It must be pointed out that each of the target beneficiaries will only receive a total cash or non-cash assistance not in excess of the prescribed thresholds. 

This Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) will be coursed through the various Social Amelioration Programs to be headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in coordination and collaboration with other national government agencies such as, but not limited to, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM),and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

  1. Covered Beneficiaries and the Corresponding Documentary Requirements

The target beneficiaries refer to the families that belong to either the poor or informal sector which are at risk of not earning a living during the Enhanced Community Quarantine, who may have at least one (1) member belonging to any of the following vulnerable or disadvantaged sectors:

1. Senior Citizens* Senior Citizen’s ID
2.Persons with Disability* Persons with disability ID; or  Certificate of Separation from or Suspension of Work
3. Pregnant and Lactating Women* Valid ID;
* Certification from RHU; or
* Birth Certificate of Child, if available  
4. Solo Parents* Solo Parent’s ID; or
*Certificate of Employment/ Separation from or Suspension of Work
5. Overseas Filipinos (OFs) in Distress -they shall refer to OFs who were repatriated or banned from traveling outside the Philippines on account of the COVID-19 breakout, from January 2020 until the lifting of the community quarantine.  * Valid Passport Bio Page; and Copy of any of the following:

1. Passport arrival stamp;
2. Proof of departure ticket;
3. Overseas Employment Certificate;
4.Employment Contract; or
5. Any other documents to prove that they were repatriated or banned from traveling outside the Philippines within the prescribed period.
6. Indigent Indigenous Peoples -those certified as poor by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS- PR) or the subject Field Office of the DSWD or those who are living in recognized ancestral domains whose income solely depend on subsistence economy as those engaged in indigenous means of livelihood as hunting, gathering or foraging as certified by the NCIP or tribal chieftain/council of elders or those who are informal economy workers.* Certification from the NCIP or the tribal chieftain/council of elders that the beneficiaries are Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and are on subsistence economy. page20image5818752  
7. Underprivileged Sector and Homeless Citizens – individuals or families residing in urban, urbanizable and rural areas whose income or combined family income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) or those who do not own housing facilities. This shall also include those who live in makeshift dwelling units and do not enjoy security of tenure.* Certification from Barangay (proving that they are homeless families or belonging to other vulnerable groups) or from the CSWDO/MSWDO/PSWDO where they are currently located.  
8. Informal Economy Workers – those who are independent, self- employed, small-scale producers and distributors of goods and services like the following:

a) Directly Hired or Occasional Workers – Persons who are contracted to do work on an irregular basis, hired by the direct recipient of the service and whose salary is completely dependent upon the completion of the particular work for which he or she was hired (e.g. laundry maid);

b) Subcontracted Workers – Any person who is an employee of a subcontractor, as defined by Article 106 and 107 of the Labor Code (e.g. pakyaw workers);

c) Homeworkers – Any person who performs in or about his home any processing of goods or materials, in whole or in part, which have been furnished directly or indirectly by an employer and thereafter to be returned to the latter (e.g. family enterprise such as those involved in crafts making, native delicacy production, home-based food processing);

d) House helpers – Persons defined as “kasambahay” under Section 4 (d) of R.A. 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act who are currently not receiving any remuneration from their family of work, or who cannot report to work due to the community quarantine (e.g. kasambahay or family driver);

e) Drivers of Pedicab, Tricycle, PUJs, UVs, PUBs, Taxi, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) and Transport Network Companies (TNC) – Persons driving a pedicab, tricycle, jeepney, van, taxi, TNVS, TNC, owned by another person and only subject to a boundary system; provided that those who own the vehicle they drive are still eligible if their income is solely dependent thereon (e.g. Angkas and Joyride drivers);

f) Micro-entrepreneurs and Producers, Operators of Sari-sari Stores, and the like – Persons operating independent, small- scale enterprises and distributors of goods and services the scope of business or service any business activity or enterprise engaged in industry, agri-business and/or services that has: (1) an asset size (less land) of less than P100,000;

g) Family Enterprise Owners – Families operating or managing small businesses such as retail, food production, and vending; (not limited to owners of carinderia, fruit or vegetable vendors and vendors in streets, RTW, etc.);

h) Sub Minimum Wage Earners – Any person who earns a wage below the prescribed minimum and is the sole income-earner of their family (e.g. dishwashers or helpers in carinderia);

i) Farmers, Fisherfolks, and Farm workers – persons engaged in agriculture and fisheries related activities, farm services and secondary processing whose monthly family income falls under the poverty line; and,

j) Employees affected by “no work, no pay” policy and not covered by DOLE Order No. 209, Series of 2020 or any DOLE issuance/s on adjustment measures program;

k) Stranded workers – for the purpose of these guidelines, refer to individuals affected by work suspension or closure who are in sites or places other than their permanent residence and unable to return home on account of the community quarantine (e.g. construction workers stranded in their respective construction site/s).
As may be applicable:

* Driver’s License;

* TODA ID; or

* Certification of membership from the Organization/ Association; or

* Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC); or

* Certification from the Barangay/ Municipality, for TODA only.

* Employment ID; orKasambahay ID; or

* Certificate   of Employment/Separation from or Suspension of Work from the  employer;

* Proof of business;

* Any other document showing  employment/ occupation/enterprise; or barangay clearance

* Establishment Report; and company payroll


(For rice farmers)

* RSBSA Enrollment Stub (for Cash Assistance)

* Notice of Cash Grant (for Cash Assistance)

* Loan Application (for SURE Aid)

* Any one (1) government-issued ID with picture

* Duly accomplished simplified Promissory Note (PN)

(For Service-Conduit Borrower)

* Loan Application

* List of Eligible Rice Farmers

* Board Resolution for financial assistance and designating at least two (2) authorized signatories to execute loan documents with identified GFI Standard PN, Authority to Debit Deposit Account

Post Release:

* Liquidation report on the loans disbursed prior to next loan availment

*Deed of Assignment of Sub-PNs
  1. Social Amelioration Programs (SAP)

To mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the government adopted the following different social amelioration programs:

  1. Food and Non-Food Items (FNI) Distribution – food and essential personal hygiene and family items regularly provided by the DSWD during disaster operations; however, taking into consideration the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine to lessen exposure to other individuals, DSWD shall provide food packs during the quarantine period as an augmentation to the LGUs, as agreed by the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force Technical Working Group (IATF-TWG) on social amelioration.

2.   Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) – outright cash in the amount of Three Thousand Pesos (Ph 3,000.00) shall be provided by the DSWD to the target beneficiaries to assist in providing the basic needs of their families. Provided that, a family shall be entitled to a cash assistance amounting to Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) when two or more family members belong to the “target beneficiaries” as identified above.  This assistance shall only be given once a month during the quarantine period.

       Under this SAP, a burial assistance in the maximum amount of TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (PHP 25,000), may also be claimed by families that suffered loss due to death of member/s caused by COVID-19, to defray the funeral expenses of the deceased; Provided that, the assistance may be claimed only for indigent COVID-19 confirmed cases and PUIs whether they, at the time of death, are undergoing home quarantine or admitted in a public or private facility.

  •  Livelihood Assistance Grants (LAG) – this SAP will only be provided to the beneficiary families of DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) having at least one (1) member who is a worker in the informal sector, and is displaced by reason of the declaration. The maximum amount of LAG per eligible family shall not exceed Fifteen Thousand Pesos (Php15,000.00). A family shall only be qualified to avail the assistance once regardless of the number of family members belonging to the identified sectors.
  • COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). This is the DOLE’s safety net program for affected workers in the formal sector to mitigate the adverse economic impacts of reduction of income brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is a one-time financial assistance equivalent to Php 5,000 which shall be non-conditional and to be given regardless of the worker’s employment status.
  • Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced Disadvantaged Workers Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko Disinfection/Sanitation Project (TUPAD #BKBK) – A community-based safety net program of DOLE that provides temporary wage employment to the informal economy workers, such as but not limited to underemployed, self-employed, and displaced marginalized workers who have lost their livelihood or whose earnings were affected due to the community quarantine against COVID-19.

      For the implementation of TUPAD #BKBK, the following are no longer eligible to avail of the assistance under the program:

a) Those who have availed of the P5,000 one-time cash assistance through the DOLE CAMP;

b) Those who are under the expanded and enhanced Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program;

c) Those who have already received cash assistance through the DSWD Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS); or,

d) Rice farmers who have already received cash assistance from the DA.

Qualified beneficiaries shall be required to work for four (4) hours a day for a maximum of ten (10) days and will be paid wages equivalent to 100% of the prevailing highest minimum wage in the region. The payment of wages shall be through money remittance service providers or direct cash pay-out. The nature of work shall be the disinfection/sanitation of the qualified beneficiaries’ houses or dwellings and immediate vicinity.

  • COVID-19 P3-ERF – A One Billion Peso (PhP1,000,000,000.00) special financing  program by the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) of the Department of Trade in Industry (DTI) for MSMEs affected by COVID-19. The loan is available to all micro and small enterprises with at least one year continuous operation prior to March 2020, and whose businesses suffered drastic reduction in sales during the ensuing epidemic

       Takenote thatthis loan facility shall be implemented, by the proper DTI Memorandum Circular, as soon as the Community Quarantine declarations are lifted.

  • Moratorium on Loan Payments of Small Business Corporation Borrowers – this refers to the payment moratorium under the Regular and P3 loan programs of the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) which shall be granted to affected borrowers situated in areas declared under community quarantine or partial lockdown, with the following conditions:

      a)  A request is submitted by affected borrowers thru email or SMS;

b) Affected borrowers shall be allowed to pay only their interest due for the succeeding six months. Interest rate will continue to accrue during the moratorium. The term of their loan shall be extended based on the number of months covered by the moratorium.

  •  Price Freeze – to ensure that prices of basic necessities shall be automatically frozen at their prevailing prices in areas declared under state of calamity as provided in Joint Memorandum Circular No 2020-01 signed by DTI, DA and DOH on 18 March 2020.
  • Cash Assistance for Rice Farmers (Rice Farmer Financial Assistance) – A  one-time provision of decoupled payments amounting to Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) to eligible rice farmer beneficiaries through identified Government Financial Institutions. It shall cater small holder rice farmers whose farm sizes range from 1 hectare and below. These farmers must be registered in the updated Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) as per approved registration and updating protocol.

10. Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance for Marginalized, Small Farmers and Fishers – provides for an interest and collateral-free loan assistance which shall be extended to eligible farmers and fishers in the amount of Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (Php 25,000.00) per borrower. Eligible beneficiaries of this program are marginalized, small farmers and fishers affected by ECQ to be validated by the DA Regional Field Offices and Local Government Units. Government financial institutions and Non-Government Financial Institutions shall implement this program by extending loans directly to eligible loan borrowers.

11. Recovery Package for Micro and Small Enterprises Engaged in Agriculture and Fisheries Food Production, and other Supply Chain Activities in Accordance with the Agripreneurship Development Fund/Program of the ACPC—a loan assistance at concessionary rates, and capacity building for micro and small enterprises engaged in agriculture and fisheries production, and other supply chain activities.  Eligible borrowers may avail of loan assistance amounting to Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 300,000.00) up to 90% of their projected cost, but not to exceed Php 15.0 million. Government financial institutions and Non-Government Financial Institutions shall implement this program by extending loans directly to eligible loan borrowers.

12. Expanded and Enhanced Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) – adoption and employment of an improved 4Ps for a period of two months in the form of cash or non-cash assistance. The DSWD and DOLE shall transfer cash, cash voucher, or goods through the LGUs or directly to families who have no incomes or savings to draw from, including families working in the informal economy and those who are not currently recipients of the current 4Ps, of an amount adequate to restore capacity to purchase basic

food and other essential items during the duration of the quarantine. For this purpose, DSWD and DOLE Secretaries may approve the temporary emergency standards of eligibility and level of benefits.

13. Livelihood Seeding Program/Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay – A Two Hundred Million fund (Php 200,000,000) that provides assistance to micro-entrepreneurs affected by calamities. This assistance will be in the form of: enterprise development training; livelihood kit amounting to at least Php 5,000 but not more than PhP8,000; and, business counselling/mentoring.


As a step in availing SAP, target beneficiaries are required to fill-out a form called Social Amelioration Card. It is a form, distributed at the barangay level, that captures the family profile which will be the mechanism for the affected families to access the social amelioration programs of the government.

The basic process to receive the social amelioration package are as follows:

Step 1: The DSWD or its authorized representatives will distribute Social Amelioration Card (SAC) forms on a house to house basis. The SAC forms serve as monitoring and validation tools to help the government identify the families that need urgent financial assistance.

Step 2: The head of the family will write all the necessary information on the SAC form in big letters.

Step 3: Make sure that the form is complete. Submit one of the forms to the LGU official when they return for collection. Keep the other form (duplicate) for reference and monitoring.

Step 4: The DSWD and other government agencies will send the aid to the LGU for distribution to beneficiaries.


The following are disqualified to received social amelioration coverage:

  • All government employees, elected and appointed, in the National, Regional, Provincial, City/Municipal and Barangay levels, regardless of work status.
  • Government employees who are solo parents or those who are already retired and senior citizens (pensioners).
  • Households  with members who are  both employed in the government and unemployed.
  • 4Ps beneficiaries  are automatic recipients of the SAP and may no longer  be required to fill-up SAC forms for additional coverage.

The following may qualify or possibly qualify for the social amelioration coverage:

  • Poor family with no income, or whose family members are unemployed.
  • Indigent senior citizens, PWDs and solo parents.
  • Indigent fishermen who are dependent on their haul for their daily food supply.
  • Indigent farmers who are paid to cultivate others farm/land.
  • Recipients of Cash for Work Project or TUPAD of DOLE.

It must be pointed out that the IATF-Technical Working Group on Social Amelioration may, from time to time, recommend to the Office of the President facilitative interventions such as: (a) Reprieve in Utility Bills; (b) Reprieve in loans from GSIS, SSS and PAG-IBIG; (c) Reduction of Monetary Transfer Fees; (d) Waiving of Penalties by Supermarkets to Suppliers; (e) Waiver of Lease Rentals; and (f) Benefits for frontliners.


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:

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The Perks of Converting Manually-Issued Land Titles to E- Titles.


The Perks of Converting Manually-Issued Land Titles to E-Titles.

A land title or a certificate of title serves as best evidence of one’s ownership over a piece of land. Among other things, it provides and confirms a property’s location, its metes and bounds (boundary lines), size or area, as well as the name of its legitimate owner. Ordinarily, a land title is made of paper, and thus susceptible to being forged, lost, misplaced or destroyed by wear and tear, fire or similar natural and man-made disasters. Needless to say, it is at times troublesome for an owner to preserve and maintain such a document.


Upgrading to e-Titles

It was back in 2008 when the Land Registration Authority (LRA) launched the Land Titling Computerization Project, part of which allowed manually-issued, paper-made land titles to be converted into e-titles under the e-Titling Conversion Project.

As a result, the original titles in the Registry of Deeds’ Vault are now digitized and stored in the computer database, while the owners’ duplicate copies can now be converted to e-titles. The conversion involves scanning and digitization of manually- issued land titles (with red borders), the relevant title information, and the storage of these records in secure databases. Certainly this is a welcome development, since apart from avoiding the problems with paper-based land titles, it also ensures that the title records of the Registries of Deeds are easily accessible and that copies are electronically preserved and backed-up securely for future reference.



On July 31, 2018, owners of land titles received a slight shock when the LRA published a notice to the effect that September 30, 2018, was the deadline to scan/digitize manually issued titles. This caused some concern and confusion until a subsequent clarification made it known that the due date applied only to the LRA’s Registries of Deeds, who were directed to retrieve, scan and digitize the remaining manually-issued land titles which were not yet in the database. Owners of manually issued titles learned, to their relief, that these remained valid and effective even if they had not been digitized by the September 30 deadline. Indeed, it is only optional for owners to upgrade these titles, though they are strongly encouraged to do so, pursuant to LRACircular 02-2016 as amended by LRACircular 02-2017.


Perks of e-Titles

  1. Better Protection from Various Forms of Real Estate Fraud and Scams e-Titles are stored in a virtual Registry of Deed vault and can only be accessed and shared within the 154 LRA extension office kiosks. This is intended to minimize the number of court cases and disputes involving fake and spurious land titles (copies that do not come from legitimate sources). Moreover, existing annotations on the paper title are carried over to the e-title, including pending court cases, alerting would-be buyers or those who have claims or an interest in the land.
  2. Enhanced Real Estate Transactions With the creation of an e-titles database, procurement and verification of Certified True Copies of Land Titles, as well as retrieving information regarding the history of ownership of a property, becomes a lot easier for both sellers and, especially, purchasers of real estate, who need to determine the status of a property as well as the possible existence of other claimants. This dispenses with the old methods that would often take days, weeks or months of legwork and follow-up.
  3. Faster Real Estate Mortgage Processing For financing or home loan purposes, banks and financial institutions hosting LRA extension office kiosks require much less time – from a matter of days, previously, to a matter of minutes, now – to verify the authenticity of a land title offered as collateral. More importantly, land title owners need not visit the Registry of Deeds where their titles were registered and can instead avail themselves of the “anywhere-to-anywhere” service (A2A) whereby they can request certified true copies of the e-titles in the database from any Registry of Deeds with online services.
  4. Simplified Processing in Replacing Lost or Destroyed Titles e-Titles face no risk of damage or loss. Even if a Registry of Deeds office were to be gutted by fire, records are safely preserved in the database.
  5. Efficient Government Processes Digitized titles are less time-consuming and reduce bureaucratic red tape. This creates the perception of a government progressing from slow deliverer to a more efficient service provider. In turn, this encourages property owners to be proactive about managing their most prized possession.

Go and Covert to e-Titles!

With the convenience and protection offered by e-titles, there is no doubt that converting to these should be the trend for every title owner. To avail themselves of the service, property owners simply need to bring the owner’s duplicate title and other required documents to the Registry of Deeds or the nearest satellite office. The LRA personnel will match the duplicate copy to the original to validate authenticity. Once validated, the conversion process of the manual title to e-title will commence. It will only take a few days and the owner’s duplicate e-title will be ready for pick-up – all for the price of a movie date!


Atty. Bayani B. Brillante, Jr. July 10, 2019. Picture by Jonathon Young at Unsplash


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