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On 4 March 2022, a Joint Administrative Order No. 22-01entitled Guidelines for Online Businesses Reiterating the Laws and Regulations Applicable to Online Business and Consumers, was published among 6 government bodies. The JAO seeks to increase consumer confidence in business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce transactions by ensuring that e-commerce platforms, electronic retailers and online merchants are guided on the rules, regulations and responsibilities in the conduct of online business. It reiterates existing policies, procedures and guidelines that apply to online businesses, and provides an integrated remedies process for online consumers.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11659 or “An Act Amending Commonwealth Act No. 146,” otherwise known as the Public Service Act, as amended on 21 March 2022. The amendment aims to liberalize previously restricted service industries to encourage private enterprise and foreign investment. While the law provides an exclusive list of sectors that are to be classified as ‘public utilities’ that remain subject to foreign ownership restrictions, the amendment also removes the 40% foreign ownership investment cap on certain public service sectors, including telecommunications.

The president of the Philippines has signed into law Republic Act No. 11659 (“RA 11659”), which: (a) removes foreign equity restrictions on most public service companies, except those considered as ‘public utility’ and ‘critical infrastructure’; (b) limits the scope of ‘public utility’ to public service companies involved in distribution and transmission of electricity, petroleum and petroleum products pipeline transmission systems, water pipeline distribution systems, wastewater and sewerage pipeline systems, seaports, and public utility vehicles (PUVs); and (c) limits the scope of ‘critical infrastructure’ to public service companies that own, use or operate systems and assets that are “vital to the Republic of the Philippines that the incapacity or destruction of such systems or assets would have a detrimental impact on national security, including telecommunications and other such vital services as may be declared by the President of the Philippines”.

On 10 December 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11595, otherwise known as ‘An Act amending Republic Act No. 8762 or the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000, by lowering the paid-up capital requirement for foreign retail enterprises and other purposes.’ RA 11595 took effect on 21 January 2022.

In an announcement made on 4 March 2022, the Philippine National Privacy Commission officially extended the validity of all existing Certificates of Registration issued in 2021 from 8 March 2022 to 8 March 2023. For Certificates of Registration issued in 2020 or earlier, which are expiring this 8 March 2022, the NPC is directing all affected personal information controllers and personal information processors to renew their registration with the Commission.

On 3 February 2022, the Congress’ Bicameral Conference Committee approved a final version of the Bill that seeks to amend the Public Service Act with a view to limiting the foreign equity restrictions imposed by the Philippine Constitution on ‘public utilities.’

The updated Senate Bill (2094) introduces several changes to the earlier version, such as: (a) the inclusion of petroleum and petroleum products pipeline transmission or distribution systems, airports, seaports, public utility vehicles, and expressways and tollways among the list of public services considered as “public utilities,” subject to a 40% foreign ownership limit; and (b) the classification of telecommunications, air carriers, domestic shipping, railways and subways as “critical infrastructures” — not “public utilities” — which are exempt from the foreign ownership limitation but only if reciprocity is accorded to Filipino nationals through law or treaty.

On 10 December 2021, Republic Act No. 11595, otherwise known as “An Act amending Republic Act No. 8762 or the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 (RTLA), by lowering the paid-up capital requirement for foreign retail enterprises and other purposes” was signed into law. It removes the requirement for a Certificate of Prequalification and the need to show compliance with the criteria for prequalification under the RTLA to the Philippine Board of Investments, before a foreign retailer can invest in or engage in a retail trade business in the Philippines.

In this annual webinar series, we are putting a spotlight on warehousing arrangements. Our speakers will update you on legislative and customs developments, share insights into the current practices of authorities, and provide practical tips on how you can identify opportunities, maximize benefits and mitigate risks when utilizing these warehouses as part of your supply chain solutions.