Legal Updates for June 2020

BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued several circulars and regulations to, among other things, further extend the deadlines for the filing of documents and payment of taxes, as well as suspend the assessment and collection of deficiency taxes due to the various ongoing quarantine restrictions in the Philippines.

DTI Issues Guidelines on Refund Concessions for Events Affected by the State of Public Health Emergency

The Department of Trade and Industry issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-30 to provide economic relief to all persons and businesses who scheduled events that were cancelled or scaled-down in view of the public health emergency and social distancing measures imposed by the government.

Supreme Court Announces the Resumption of Court Operations Nationwide

On 29 May 2020, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ("SC") directed the resumption of court operation in the country with the easing of movement restrictions and placing most parts of the country under general community quarantine ("GCQ"). The SC also announced that the hearings through videoconferencing shall continue in GCQ-affected areas.

Makati City Government issues General Community Quarantine Guidelines

On 29 May 2020, Makati City Mayor Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay issued Executive Order No. 11, which approved the 2020 General Community Quarantine Guidelines for the City of Makati effective 1 June 2020. While Makati City is also covered by the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, the Makati City Government is empowered to issue localised guidelines for its territorial jurisdiction.

DOLE & BI Resume Operations under General Community Quarantine

On 1 June 2020, the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") was lifted and Metro Manila was placed under General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 June 2020.

On 29 May 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) announced that under the GCQ, it will resume the processing of all Alien Employment Permit ("AEP")-related applications through its newly launched online AEP portal. AEPs which expired during the ECQ may be renewed within 45 working days after the lifting of the community quarantine without penalty. As part of its COVID-19 mitigation and containment efforts, DOLE issued its guidelines on the online submission of documentary requirements for AEP applications.

 On 1 June 2020, the Bureau of Immigration ("BI") also lifted the previous suspension of all visa-related transactions, including the filing for the application or extension of 9(a) Visa, 9(g) Visa, and visa downgrading. However, under the GCQ, all applicants are required to reserve an appointment online for all visa-related transactions; otherwise, they will not be allowed to enter the BI premises.

The Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

On 22 May 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 38 which further revised and clarified the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of the Community Quarantine in the Philippines that was issued on 15  May 2020.  Key modifications were made with respect to industries allowed to operate within a particular community quarantine area, interzonal movement of persons, and grace period for the payment of loans, among others.  On 27 May 2020, the IATF adopted a reclassification of the community quarantine for certain areas beginning 1 June 2020.

Opening of the SEC Express System and the SEC Express Nationwide Submission (SENS)

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") announced that it will open its SEC Express System and SEC Express Nationwide Submission ("SENS") services to the public beginning 1 June 2020.  Through these systems, the public may now request for SEC documents (online and thru call center) and submit reportorial requirements (thru courier and/or the Philippine Postal Corporation) through the SEC Express System and SENS, respectively.