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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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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!


BSP Relaxes KYC Requirements to Facilitate Access to Financial Services

By: Saliha Naila A. Abdullah

Know Your Customer/Client (KYC) is a process by which banks obtain information about the identity and address of the customers. This process helps to ensure that banks’ services are not misused. The KYC procedure is to be completed by the banks while opening accounts and also periodically update the same.

Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has advised the public that it will order the relaxation of KYC requirements to enable access of all identified beneficiaries to financial services. BSP aims to facilitate the delivery of welfare funds to those beneficiaries who have no available valid identification documents (IDs) or transactional account with any financial institution.

Accordingly, the Monetary Board eased the requirement for the presentation of a valid ID for all customer onboarding and transactions during the period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and until 30 June 2020.
 
Under the recently issued BSP Memorandum No. M-2020-015, any requirement for the presentation of valid IDs shall be relaxed during the above-mentioned period, subject to the following control measures:

(a) The transactions in the account shall not exceed P50,000.00 per day;

(b) Qualified customers are those who reside or conduct business in the area which has been declared to be under ECQ/CQ;

(c)  Customers are required to certify that he/she has no valid ID; and

(d) The customer’s account activities shall be subject to ongoing monitoring. Financial institutions are expected to obtain the required minimum information from the customer and perform risk-based customer due diligence.

Note that the foregoing shall apply to both over the counter and electronic or online transactions. 

BSP has implemented this relief measure on Customer Identification because it considers the accounts involved as low risk. Likewise, BSP has implemented control measures to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing risks.  This initiative by the BSP intends to ensure that Filipinos have continuous access to basic government and financial services amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Please stay tuned for new issuances and releases of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. We will accordingly provide updates as new announcements from the BSP are given from time to time.


Additional Measures To Be Adopted By DOLE In Light Of Extended Quarantine

By: Saliha Naila Abdullah

Photo Courtesy of: Official Webpage of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

In light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in response to growing concerns by all affected employees, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released a statement on additional measures to be adopted by DOLE in view of the extended community quarantine.

According to the Secretary of Labor, DOLE will adopt the following measures:

  1. Guarantee that no information given by employers in the submission of establishment reports will be disclosed to the public or used against them in the future. This is to encourage more companies to submit their reports so that the government will be able to provide assistance to their workers and employees.
  • DOLE is no longer strictly requiring the submission of the company payroll in the establishment report. Any proof of payment of salaries and wages will be sufficient compliance with the requirement.

3.  DOLE’s field offices will continue processing establishment reports even during the Holy Week to speed up the processing of assistance, and they have entered into an agreement with Land Bank for the expeditious release and remittance of funds through their branches and automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide.

The Department of Labor and Employment is just waiting for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte on the recommendation of the Inter Agency Task Force for additional funding for the following assistance program to be implemented by DOLE:

  1. P10,000 assistance to affected OFWs, documented or undocumented, who are stranded overseas or have been repatriated under the DOLE AKAP program. The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) can now start processing the assistance;
  • Additional fund for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para was Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers-Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD-BKBK) for the informal sector workers; and

3. Additional funds for the Covid Adjustment Measures Program  (CAMP) which provides a one-time P5,000 assistance to workers in the formal economy.

DOLE aims to aid all 715,000 affected workers whose employers had applied for financial assistance under CAMP. They are also ready to process more requests if more establishments will submit their reports.

Also with additional funding, the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers Program-Barangay Ko, Bahay ko (TUPAD-BKBK) program intends to finance the emergency work of approximately 700,000 affected workers in the informal sector.

To date, CAMP and TUPAD-BKBK had already benefitted 440,000 workers from the formal and informal sector. Further, in the DOLE AKAP program, the government is looking at providing financial assistance to about 150,000 affected OFWs. The DOLE measures and assistance discussed in this article will be updated accordingly as new announcements are given from time to time.


GUIDELINES ON PAYMENT OF HOLIDAY PAY FOR THE APRIL 2020 HOLIDAYS, ITS DEFERMENT AND EXEMPTION.

By: Saliha Naila Abdullah

On 30 March 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment issued Labor Advisory No. 13, series of 2020, to provide the rules on the payment of wages for the upcoming holidays next week. Accordingly, employees in the Philippines will be compensated during the three-day regular and special now-working period in the following manner:

Thursday, April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan and Holy Thursday, Regular Holidays)

If two Regular Holidays falls on the same day, employees can expect to be paid double their daily basic wage and cost-of-living adjustment or allowance (COLA) even if they do not work that day as a result of the two regular holidays, provided that the employee was present or on leave with pay on the workday prior to the start of the enhanced community quarantine on 17 March 2020.

            Regular holiday rate for no work:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 200%]

Employees who will report to work on April 9 will be paid a total of 300% of their wage for the first eight hours of work.

            Regular holiday rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 300%]

If the worker renders overtime hours on April 9, an extra 30% of their hourly wage rate on that day will apply (Overtime Premium Pay).

            Regular holiday rate for an excess of eight hours (Overtime Premium Pay):

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 300% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Employees who report to work on the double-holiday during their rest day will receive an additional 30% of their 300% wage that day.

            Rest day and regular holiday rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 300%]  + [30% (Basic wage x 300%)]

An additional 30% applies if they work overtime during their rest day.

            Rest day and regular holiday rate for an excess of eight hours:

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 300% x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Friday, April 10 (Good Friday, Regular Holiday)

Regular holiday premium pay also applies on Good Friday for employees who were present or on leave with pay before the enhanced community quarantine was enforced on 17 March 2020.

Regular holiday rate for no work:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 100%]

Regular holiday rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 200%]

Regular holiday rate for an excess of eight hours (Overtime Premium Pay):

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 200% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Rest day and regular holiday rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage + COLA) x 200%]  + [30% (Basic wage x 200%)]

Rest day and regular holiday rate for an excess of eight hours:

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 200% x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Saturday, April 11 (Black Saturday, Special Holiday)

Since it is a special non-working day, “the ‘no work, no pay’ principle shall apply (if the employee did not work) unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement granting payment on a special day,” according to the Labor department.

However, if the employee reported for work on that day, the following shall be followed:

Special non-working day rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage x 130%) + COLA]

Special non-working day rate for an excess of eight hours (Overtime Premium Pay):

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Rest day and special non-working day rate for the first eight hours:

  • Computation: [(Basic wage x 150%) + COLA]

Rest day and special non-working day rate for an excess of eight hours:

  • Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic wage x 150% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Subsequently, on 01 April 2020,  in view of the Covid-19 national emergency,  the Department of Labor and Employment issued Labor Advisory No. 13-A, series of 2020 which provided for the  DEFERMENT OF and EXEMPTION FROM the PAYMENT OF HOLIDAY PAY FOR THE APRIL 2020 HOLIDAYS. Hence:

            1) Employers are allowed to defer payment of holiday pay on April 9, 10 and 11, 2020, until such time that the present emergency situation has been abated and the normal operations of the establishment is in place.

            2) Establishments that have totally closed or ceased operation during the enhanced community quarantine period are exempted from the payment of the holiday pay under this labor advisory.

Stay tuned for further updates and latest issuances from our government.


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