Legal Updates for July 2020

BIR Adopts Fast-track Measures and Removes the Requirement of Submission of Photocopies of Documents Evidencing Credit Extensions and Credit Restructurings

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) has issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 071-2020 to circularise the advisory for the adoption of fast-track measures during the COVID-19 state of calamity issued by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (“ARTA”) through ARTA Advisory No. 01, Series of 2020 (“Advisory”). The Advisory applies to all government offices and agencies including local government units, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and other government instrumentalities, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, that provide services covering business and nonbusiness-related transactions. The suggested measures include extending the validity of permits, licenses, certifications, and other similar authorisations that are expiring within the period of the State of National Emergency.

BIR has also issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 072-2020 to remove the requirement of submission of photocopies of documents evidencing credit extensions and credit restructurings granted by covered institutions during the enhanced community quarantine.

Updates on the Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

On 22 March 2020, the Philippines closed its borders to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Foreign Affairs restricted the entry of foreign nationals and suspended visa-free privileges and the issuance of entry visas. Recently, the Philippines has opened up its economy and eased its movement restrictions. Following this direction, on 16 July 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force (“IATF”) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 56 allowing the entry of foreigners starting 1 August 2020 subject to some conditions.

In another development, the IATF on 14 July 2020 issued Resolution No. 55-A reclassifying community quarantine status of different areas of the country until 31 July 2020.

PCC Issues Guidelines for the Operations of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during GCQ and MGCQ

On 16 July 16 2020, the Philippines Competition Commission (“PCC”) approved and released the Interim Guidelines on the Operations of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during the General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine. These guidelines outline the conduct of activities and processes of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office during the General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine to comply with the minimum public health standards and ensure the safety of PCC employees and stakeholders

Securities and Exchange Commission provides options for the submission of Reports, Applications, and Other Documents

Based on a notice issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") dated 24 June 2020, in light of the imposition of community quarantine in the National Capital Region due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous need to comply with social distancing requirements and other public health measures in the receiving, processing and submission of documents, the covered companies (i.e., investment companies, registered issuers of proprietary and non-proprietary shares/timeshares, public companies, corporate governance institutional training providers and publicly-listed companies under the supervision of the Corporate Governance and Finance Department are advised to file or submit their reports, applications, requests, compliance, and other documents to the SEC, via courier services or  electronic email, or both courier services and electronic email.

Cebu City Under Enhanced Community Quarantine; Makati City Allows Payment of Realty and Business Taxes Online

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and pursuant to Resolution No. 46-A of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, the local government of Cebu City, through Cebu City Executive Order No. 082 dated 17 June 2020 (“Order”), has imposed an enhanced community quarantine (“ECQ”) over its territory. Pursuant to the Order, a mandatory stay-at-home order is enforced for all residents. Travel and movement outside homes of residents of Cebu City shall be limited only to accessing basic necessities and services. Only one member of the household is allowed to leave the home. The travel and movement restrictions do not apply to several groups of residents including medical practitioners and health workers, emergency personnel, and authorised national and local government officials and employees.

In another development, the local government of Makati City announced on 17 June 2020 that the second-quarter payments for real property taxes and business taxes can be made online through this website: https://makationlinepayments.com/.