NEWS

METRO MANILA IS PLACED UNDER GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE

On June 30, 2020, the government announced that Metro Manila’s general community quarantine (GCQ) is extended from July 1, 2020 to July 15, 2020, from its earlier imposition effective June 1, 2020. Under GCQ, more industries are allowed to operate, and minimum public health standards and social distancing measures are set in place. However, movement of people is still limited to accessing basic necessities and for work in industries allowed to operate. Work in government offices may be at full operational capacity or under such alternative work arrangements as agencies may deem proper in accordance to the issuances of the Civil Service Commission. To see the detailed guidelines on the GCQ, check http://www.covid19.gov.ph/ecq-gcq-guidelines/.

THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE FURTHER EXTENDS THE DUE DATES FOR THE SUBMISSION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS AND RETURNS AS WELL AS PAYMENT OF TAXES

On April 8, 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 39-2020 extending the statutory deadlines further for 15 days the extended due dates enumerated in Section 2 of RR No. 7-2020.

Moreover, the filing/submission of BIR For 255Q (Quarterly Percentage Tax Return), which is originally due on April 25, 2020 is further extended up to May 25, 2020.

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES (IPOPHL) ISSUED AN UPDATED ADVISORY IN THE LIGHT OF THE EXTENSION OF THE ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTIBE TO APRIL 30, 2020

On April 7, 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines issued IPOPHL Memorandum Circular No. 2020-009 for the continued delivery of its services as well as work-from-home arrangement until April 30, 2020. The salient guidelines are as follows:

  1. All scheduled hearings before the IPOPHL including mediation shall remain suspended until April 30, 2020
  2. Deadlines for all papers, pleadings, documents and payments falling due from March 16, 2020 to May 15, 2020 are deemed extended for 60 calendar days from due date
  3. New applications for patents, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks from March 16, 2020 to April 30, 2020 may be filed online only but processing shall commence upon resumption of work

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES (IPOPHL) ISSUED IPOPHL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2020-8

On March 16, 2020, IPO Philippines issued a supplemental advisory:

  1. Use online filing system in order to comply with the prescribed period for claiming priority date for invention, utility model, industrial design and trademark applications whose convention priority dates fall from March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020.
  2. Payment of filing fees including claim for convention priority fee of new applications filed within the enhanced quarantine period are deemed extended for a period of 45 calendar days from the online filing date
  3. Deadlines for all submissions and payments due from March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020 are deemed extended for a period of 45 calendar days from due date

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 20-11

On March 31, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry issued supplemental guidelines on the economic activities allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon. Economic activities in the supply chain of food and essential products and medical products, such as production of raw and processed materials, packaging and other inputs, including the manufacturing and distribution shall be allowed, and may operate at a maximum of 50% workforce but still subject to the strict implementation of social distancing, good hygiene and infection control measures.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION ISSUED GUIDELINES FOR THE ALTERNATIVE FILING OF REPORTS, APPLICATIONS, COMPLIANCE, REQUESTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On March 30, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidelines for the filing of reports, applications, compliance, and requests thru email for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine as their office remain closed. Documents that need to be notarized must still be submitted with proper notarization after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine.

Submission of Annual and Quarterly Reports, Audited Financial Statements of GFCD covered companies are extended until June 20, 2020, but earlier filing thru email may be made.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOTICE REGARDING THE REMOTE FILING OF MONITORING CLEARANCE FOR AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION AND BY-LAWS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On March 30, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an advisory allowing for the filing of applications for ordinary amendments and applications for increase/decrease of capital stock and merger and consolidation via email for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine as their office remain closed.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOTICE REGARDING ON-LINE COMPANY REGISTRATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On March 30, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a notice that it continuous to accept online applications for the registration of corporations and partnership thru the Company Registration System, but the verification of payment and generation of Certificate of Incorporation of Certificate of Filing of Articles of Partnership will only be released after the enhanced community quarantine quarantine has been lifted as the office remain closed for the time being.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOTICE TO FINANCING COMPANIES AND LENDING COMPANIES

On March 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a notice to finance and lending companies reiterating the directive to implement a minimum of 30 days grace period for all payment of loans.

ENACTMENT OF BAYANIHAN TO HEAL AS ONE ACT

On March 23, 2020, R.A. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act was signed into law and took effect the next day, declaring the whole Philippines under a state of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the pertinent directives are as follows:

  1. Ensuring the availability of credit to productive sectors of the economy
  2. Liberalizing the grant of incentives, and exempting from import duties, taxes and other fees the manufacture or importation of critical equipment and supplies for the carrying out of the policy, including healthcare equipment and supplies
  3. Ensuring the availability of essential goods, in particular food and medicine and minimize disruption to the supply chain for the basic commodities and services
  4. Continuing the authorization of alternative working arrangements for employees in the public and private sector
  5. Moving the statutory deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of documents and taxes due to the government
  6. Directing banks and other financial institutions to implement a 30 days grace period for the payment of loans falling within the enhanced community quarantine period, without penalty
  7. Providing a minimum of 30 days grace period on residential rents falling within the community quarantine period

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 20-06

On March 19, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry issued a memorandum ensuring unhampered movement of cargo and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon. Covered enterprises include manufacturing of food and essential products, medicine and medical supplies, retain establishments limited to groceries, supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores, and export and business process outsourcing companies.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 29-2020

On March 19, 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 29-2020 (RMC 29-2020) , extending the deadline for the filing and payment of the following tax returns:

BIR Forms / Returns Original Due Date Extended Due Date
Monthly VAT Declaration (2550-M) for non-eFPS filers for the month of February 2020 March 20, 2020 April 20, 2020
eFiling and ePayment of Monthly Remittance of Percentage Tax on Winnings and Prizes Withheld (1600WP) for the month of February 2020 March 20, 2020 April 20, 2020
eFiling of:
  • 1601C
  • 0619E
  • 0619F
For the month of February 2020
For eFPS filers under Group E
March 21, 2020 April 21, 2020
eFiling of:
  • 1601C
  • 0619E
  • 0619F
For the month of February 2020
For eFPS filers under Group D
March 22, 2020 April 22, 2020
eFiling of
  • 1601C
  • 0619E
  • 0619E
For the month of February 2020 For eFPS filers under Group C
March 23, 2020 April 23, 2020
eFiling of
  • 1601C
  • 0619E
  • 0619E
For the month of February 2020 For eFPS filers under Group B
March 24, 2020 April 24, 2020
eFiling of
  • 1601C
  • 0619E
  • 0619E
For the month of February 2020 For eFPS filers under Group A
March 25, 2020 April 25, 2020
iling and payment of Quarterly VAT Return (2550-Q) for the quarter ended 29 February 2020 for both eFPS and non-eFPS taxpayers March 2, 2020 April 27, 2020
ePayment of 2550M for Groups E, D, C, and B for the month February 2020 March 30, 2020 April 30, 2020
Filing and Payment of Quarterly Income Tax Return for Non-Individuals (1702-Q) March 31, 2020 April 30, 2020
Filing of Annual Information Return on Income taxes Withheld on Compensation and Final Withholding Taxes (1604-CF) March 31, 2020 April 30, 2020
Submission of Certificate of Compensation Payment (2316) March 31, 2020 April 30, 2020
Filing of Annual Information Return of Creditable Income Taxes Withheld (1504-E) March 31, 2020 April 30, 2020
Filing and payment of DST (2000 and 2000-OT) for the month of March 2020 April 5, 2020 May 5, 2020
Filing and Payment 1600 and Monthly Alphalist of Payees (1606) April 10, 2020 May 11, 2020
Filing and Payment of Withholding Tax Remittance Return (1600 and 1601-C) for March 2020 April 10, 2020 May 11, 2020
Filing and Payment of Excise Tax Return for Mineral Products (2200-M) for March 2020 April 10, 2020 May 11, 2020
Filing and payment of 1601-C for non-eFPS taxpayers for March 2020 April 10, 2020 May 11, 2020
Filing and payment of 1601-C for eFPS taxpayers under Group E for March 2020 April 11, 2020 May 11, 2020
Filing and payment of 1601-C for eFPS taxpayers under Group D for March 2020 April 12, 2020 May 12, 2020
Filing and payment of 1601-C for eFPS taxpayers under Group C for March 2020 April 13, 2020 May 13, 2020
Filing and payment of 1601-C for eFPS taxpayers under Group B for March 2020 April 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

For One Time Transactions (ONETT), there is an extension of 30 calendar days from its due date to file the return and pay the corresponding tax for due dates falling within the Enhanced Quarantine Period.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 28-2020

On March 18, 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued a Circular extending the deadline of the filing and payment of 2019 Annual Income Tax Returns from April 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020 without the imposition of penalties to taxpayers.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DEPARTMENT ORDER NO. 209

On March 17, 2020, the Department of Labor issued Department Order No. 209 promulgating guidelines on the implementation of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures program (CAMP). Financial support amounting to a one time payment of PHP5,000.00 shall be provided to affected workers in private establishments that have adopted flexible work arrangements or temporary closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected workers are workers in private establishments whose employment suffered interruption, such as those retained workers who do not receive regular wage or workers whose employment is temporarily suspended by reason of suspension of operations of the employer’s business establishment.

Large establishments are encouraged to cover the full wages of employees within the one(1) month community quarantine period.

PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION NO. 929, S. 2020

On March 16, 2020, the President of the Philippines issued Presidential Proclamation No. 929, s. 2020 declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and imposed an enhanced community quarantine throughout Luzon from March 17,2020 to April 13, 2020. The pertinent provisions of the guidelines from the Executive Secretary includes the following:

  1. Strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households
  2. 2. Cancellation of all classes and all school activities in all levels, both public and private,
  3. Prohibition of mass gatherings,
  4. Strict home quarantine in all household limiting the movement to accessing basic provisions for food and medicine,
  5. Suspension of public transportation,
  6. Restriction of land, air and sea travel (subject to exemptions and limitations),
  7. Only private establishments providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production, banks, money transfer services, power, energy, water and telecommunications shall be open. In such open establishments, the adoption of strict skeletal workforce to support operations and strict social distancing measures shall be adopted.

Business process Outsourcing and export-oriented industries shall remain operational, subject to observance of strict social distancing measures.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LABOR ADVISORY NO. 11

On March 16, 2020, after the National Capital Region is placed under a lockdown, the Department of Labor issued Labor Advisory No. 11 s. 2020 to help ensure containment of CIV_19 transmission through adoption of flexible work arrangements and observance of social distancing measures between and among workers (1 meter radius ), some guidelines were issued to guide employers. Among the pertinent provisions are as follows:

  1. Telecommuting, work from home, reduction of workdays/hours, rotation of workers, forced leaves are encouraged and reiterated
  2. All manufacturing, retail and service establishments are advised to remain open during the community quarantine period provided social distancing and other safety and health measures are strictly observed
  3. The leaves of absence during the community quarantine period shall be charged against the worker’s existing leave credits, if any. Remaining unpaid leaves during said period may be covered
  4. Non-residents of the National Capital Region who work in the National Capital Region shall be allowed to report for work provided they present proof of employment at checkpoints
  5. Self-employed workers shall be allowed to travel to and from the National Capital Region provided proof of business or economic activity is presented at checkpoints
  6. Those delivering goods such as food, raw materials shall be allowed access to the National Capital Region
  7. All healthcare facilities shall be fully operational and their employees shall be allowed to move from the National capital Region and vice versa

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES (IPOPHL) ISSUED IPOPHL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2020-6, SHIFTS TO ONLINE-ONLY SERVICES AND POSTPONES DEADLINES

On March 16, 2020, IPO Philippines adopted of a work-from-home policy arrangement for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine period per its Memorandum Circular No. 2020-6. Other pertinent guidelines are as follows:

  1. All scheduled hearings including mediation are suspended
  2. Deadlines for all submissions and payments due from March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020 are deemed extended for a period of 30 calendar days from due date
  3. New applications for patents, utility model, industrial design and trademarks may be filed thru the IPOPHIL electronic filing system but processing shall commence upon resumption of work. No manual filing shall be accepted during the enhanced community quarantine period

MEMORANDUM FROM EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ON STRINGENT SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES AND FURTHER GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE COVID-19 SITUATION

On March 13, 2020, the Executive Secretary, pursuant to Presdidential Proclamation No. 922, s.2020 and recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Disease placed the National Capital Region or Metro Manila under community quarantine due to the sharp increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the country. The pertinent directives are as follows:

  1. Movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work
  2. Movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work
  3. Classes and all school activities in all levels are suspended until April 14, 2020
  4. Mass gatherings are prohibited
  5. Alternative working arrangements will be implemented in the Executive branch of government, except members of the PNP, AFP and PCG
  6. Flexible work arrangements are encouraged in the private sector
  7. Mass public transport facilities shall continue
  8. Land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from the NCR are prohibited

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 6-2019 to implement the Tax Amnesty Act

On March 4, 2020, the Department of Labor issued Labor Advisory No. 09 s. 2020 to guide employers in implementing flexible working arrangements due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Reduction of work hours or workdays, rotation of workers and forced leave are among those suggested.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 6-2019 to implement the Tax Amnesty Act

The Secretary of Finance issued Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 6-2019 dated May 31, 2019 to implement Republic Act No. 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act. The Tax Amnesty Act gives taxpayers the opportunity to settle unpaid or delinquent estate tax obligations covering the estate of decedents who passed away or on before December 31, 2017, without penalties, and using the tax amnesty rate of 6%, which is similar to the new estate tax rate imposed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN law) from January 1, 2018 onwards. The tax amnesty is for a period of two years starting from June 15, 2019.

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES (IPOPHL) STARTS IMPLEMENTING THE MEDIATION AS PART OF ITS ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

On September 20, 2019 IPO Philippines launched its Mediation Outside Litigation Service, allowing parties to submit their dispute to mediation even before or without filing a case.

IPO Philippines is also offering WIPO Mediation, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization for international parties seeking related disputes in multiple jurisdictions.

THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE OF THE PHILIPPINES (IPOPHL) IS NOW AN INTERNATIONAL SEARCHING AUTHORITY AND INTERNATIONAL PRELIMINARY EXAMINING AUTHORITY (ISA/IPEA)

IPO Philippines is now as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA), enabling it to do search and preliminary examination of international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Previously, Philippine residents applying for patents can only seek foreign IP offices to be their ISA/IPEAs to issue international search reports for their PCT applications. Search fees (USD1,000 for big entities and USD400 for small entities) and preliminary examination fees (USD500 for big entities and USD200 for small entities) are the most competitive among IP Offices in the region.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines ratified En Banc the constitutionality of the Philippine Accession to the Madrid Protocol

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has expanded its Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) network with the signing of the bilateral PPH Agreement with the European Patent Office (EPO) on October 5, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. The signing of this agreement is an important milestone as the EU countries remain among the top foreign patent filers in the Philippines. Upon its implementation in 2017, applicants with corresponding patent applications in IPOPHL and EPO can file a request for preferential examination under this Program in either Offices following a prescribed procedure and with submission of relevant documents and application.

At present, the Philippines has existing PPH agreements with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). PPH is a global work-sharing effort being participated now by 41 IP Offices worldwide. The program provides a framework whereby patent applicants whose applications have been determined allowable by a patent office are entitled to request, through a simple procedure, an accelerated or preferential examination of the corresponding applications in another patent office based on the issued examination results. Work products from one IP office can be used as reference by another IP office for substantive examination making applicants benefit from faster prosecution of their applications and acquisition of higher quality patent rights.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines ratified En Banc the constitutionality of the Philippine Accession to the Madrid Protocol

The Supreme Court En Banc in its decision dated July 19, 2016 ordered the dismissal of the petition for Special Civil Action for Certiorari filed by the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) challenging the constitutionality of the ratification of the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol) having been made without the concurrence of the Senate. The IPAP argued that the Madrid Protocol is a treaty needing the concurrence of the Senate and even if the accession is declared constitutional, its implementation would still be unconstitutional for being violative of Section 125 of Republic Act No. 8293, or the Intellectual Property Code (IP Code). According to IPAP, the IP Code requires the foreign trademark owners seeking protection of their trademarks in the Philippines to file their applications with the IPO through a resident agent.

The Supreme Court held that the Madrid Protocol is an executive agreement that does not require the concurrence of the Senate. It also declared that there is no conflict between the Madrid Protocol and the IP Code as the method of registration through the IPO as laid down by the IP Code is distinct and separate from the method of registration through the WIPO as set in the Madrid Protocol.

The Madrid Protocol is an international agreement that establishes a simplified procedure for a trademark owner to apply for protection of a trademark in each of the 97 countries that are members to the agreement. It allows an applicant to file a single application in one language, through one national IP Office instead of filing applications in each country where protection is sought. The Philippines’ Instrument of Accession to the Madrid Protocol was signed on March 27, 2012 by President Benigno Aquino and entered into force in the country on July 25, 2012.


UPDATE ON OUR OPERATIONS

As we continue to adapt to the impact of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, we are providing you a brief update on our operations.

For the duration of the General Community Quarantine and onwards, Lago Law Office is open thru our virtual channel and is able to continue operations and fully handle client requirements as may be allowed by government operational limitations.

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