Old Problem, New Solution: NTC to Require Internet Service Providers to Block Child Pornography Websites

Timely Solution. This is the appropriate description for the latest issuance of the National Telecommunications Commission (“NTC”), the government agency that regulates Philippines’ telecommunications infrastructure and services. On January 30, 2014, the NTC issued Memorandum Circular (the “Circular”) Number 01-01-2014 providing guidelines for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the implementation of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9775). The release of the Circular came at an opportune time after the Philippines was reportedly included by the Virtual Global Taskforce – an international alliance of law enforcement agencies against online child abuse – as among the top ten countries with rampant cyber pornographic activities involving boys and girls between ten to fourteen years.[1]  The said report might have been the catalyst that triggered the NTC to fulfill its mandate under Section 9 of R.A. No. 9775, “to promulgate rules and regulations… which shall include among others, the installation of filtering software that will block access to or transmission of any form of child pornography.”

Continue reading

Protecting the Lives and Property of Filipinos by Protecting Government Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment: A Look Into the Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Protection Act and its IRR

On December 4, 2012, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law Republic Act No. 10344 (“RA 10344”) or the Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Protection Act. This law was passed pursuant to the policy of the State under Section 17 of Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution to protect the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

Under RA 10344, government risk reduction and preparedness equipment (the “equipment”) refer to pieces of equipment, or parts thereof of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that gather, store, archive or monitor meteorological and seismological data and information which are analyzed and used to warn the public about weather conditions, earthquake, volcanic or tsunami activities and similar natural calamities.

On June 25, 2013, the DOST in coordination with the NDRRMC promulgated the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10344 (the “IRR”). Under the IRR, the following are included in the list of equipment by the DOST which will be regularly updated:

Continue reading

Investing in the Future: Implementing Rules of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013

Not long after the passage of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (“IRR”) of this law was issued on September 4, 2013 through the joint efforts of the Department of Education (“DepEd”), the Commission on Higher Education (“CHED”) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (“TESDA”).  The IRR applies to the following educational institutions: (1) Higher Education Institutions (“HEIs”); (2) Technical-Vocational Institutions (“TVIs”); (3) Teacher Education Institutions (“TEIs”); (4) foundations; and (5) all public and private basic educational institutions and learning centers.

Enhanced Curriculum for Basic Education

Premised on the need for an educational reform to produce globally competitive Filipino graduates, every parent, guardian or person having custody of a child is mandated to enroll such child in basic education which covers kindergarten, elementary and secondary education.    Alternative learning systems for out-of-school students and those with special needs are also considered in the IRR as part of the basic education program.  This is somehow similar to the prior educational system providing for a Specialized Educational Service for differently-abled students and for out-of-school youth and adults.  Unlike the previous Education Act (BP Blg. 232), however, the IRR of the Enhanced Basic Education Act enumerated the following programs to address the physical, intellectual, psychosocial and cultural needs of students:

Continue reading

RH Law Battle Far From Over: A Discussion on the Salient Provisions of the Law’s IRR

Never has there been a more controversial law in the past decade than the Reproductive Health Law (“RH Law”).  After a long and contentious battle in Congress, the law was finally passed. But the fervent opposition by the so-called Pro-life groups (chief among them the Catholic Church) endures.

Four days after the approval of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (“IRR”), the Supreme Court on March 19, 2013, halted its implementation, issuing a 120-day status quo ante order. The status quo ante order was later extended indefinitely by the Court after the 120-day period expired.

With the approval of the law’s IRR, staunch critics have once again harped on its imperfections. On the other hand, proponents have asked the public not to focus on these imperfections but rather look at the good points of the law and the IRR. Here’s a quick look at the salient provisions of the IRR, approved on March 15, 2013.

Continue reading

SEC Guidelines on Compliance with Filipino-Foreign Ownership Requirements

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued Memorandum Circular No. 8-2013 on May 20, 2013. The Circular sets out the guidelines to determine compliance with the required percentage of Filipino-foreign ownership in corporations engaged in nationalized and partly-nationalized activities.

Nationalized activities refer to those areas of investments which are completely or partly reserved to Philippine nationals pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, the Foreign Investments Act, as amended (“FIA”), and other existing laws such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

Continue reading

Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Batas Kasambahay

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act No. 10361, otherwise known as the “Domestic Workers Act” or “Batas Kasambahay,” on May 09, 2013.

Republic Act No. 10361 defines a Kasambahay as a person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship such as a househelp, nursemaid or “yaya”, cook, gardener, or laundry person, but excludes those performing domestic work on an occasional or sporadic basis.

The much-celebrated Batas Kasambahay is said to have institutionalized the basic rights of a domestic worker vis-à-vis minimum wage, rest periods, service incentive leave, thirteenth-month pay and social security benefits.

Note that the law highlights the domestic worker’s right to education and training. Under the IRR, a Kasambahay must be afforded the opportunity to finish basic education, which shall consist of elementary and secondary education. Moreover, the IRR mandates the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to facilitate access of a Kasambahay to efficient training on technical-vocational education, and to coordinate with the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to develop a skill/competency-based pay system.

Continue reading

Implementing Rules and Regulations for Clerical Corrections in Date of Birth and Sex in the Civil Registry

The Office of the Civil Registrar General of the National Statistics Office promulgated Administrative Order No. 1 series of 2012 (AO 1) on October 24, 2012. The AO implements the provisions of Republic Act 10172, the amendatory law to Republic Act 9048, and supplements Administrative Order 1 series of 2001, which, in turn, implements RA 9048. Both statutes provide a means of correcting erroneous entries in the civil registry without need of judicial action.

Prior to RA 10172, RA 9048 allowed changes in a person’s first name or nickname as well as corrections to typographical entries through an administrative petition to the local civil registry or the consul-general. RA 10172 expands RA 9048 and expressly allows corrections to entries concerning a person’s date of birth or sex. More specifically, the law amended Sections 1, 2, 5 and 8 of RA 9048, which respectively defined the scope of the powers of the civil registry, the terms used in the Act, the form and contents of the petition and the authority to charge fees for the correction.

Only clerical or typographical errors are allowed to be corrected. For substantial amendments to any entry in the civil registry, except for change of first name or nickname, an adversarial proceeding under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is still required. These include petitions to change nationality, age or status. Under the act, clerical or typographical errors are “harmless and innocuous…visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records.”

Continue reading