Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Adopt-A-School Program

The Department of Education (DepED) promulgated the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act 8525, or the Adopt-a-School Act of 1998, on 18 January 2013. DepED Order 2 series of 2013 is the latest revision to Department Order No. 80 s. 1998 – the first IRR issued for RA 8525.

The said law aims to improve access to quality education by promoting private sector participation in school building, rehabilitation and development. Under RA 8525, an adopting private entity (APE) must enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a public school. The MOA must be for at least two years and shall contain the terms of the ‘adoption’. Under such a MOA, the APE may provide training to a school’s faculty or construct or upgrade school facilities. It may also donate educational materials to public schools, whether elementary, secondary or tertiary, within the twenty poorest provinces in the country. In return, the law allows the APE to have its name displayed below the name of the adoptee school apart from an additional deduction to gross income equivalent to half of the expenses incurred and representation in the local school board.

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New Rules and Regulations Governing the Elections

The Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 9615 on 15 January 2013. This Resolution implements the provisions of Republic Act No. 9006, more popularly known as the Fair Election Act, for purposes of the 2013 national and local mid-term elections.

The Fair Election Act governs the use of TV, radio and other broadcast media, and other forms and methods of campaigning, the use and conduct of election surveys and exit polls, and the method of implementing the right to reply enshrined under Section 4, Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution. The law seeks to level the playing field among national and local electoral candidates and parties, particularly by placing limits on the amount of time a candidate or political party may access a particular medium for campaign purposes as well as by limiting the type and forms of allowable election campaign materials, and regulating public rallies, meetings and other political activities.

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Updated BSP Rules Implementing the Truth in Lending Act

The Monetary Board issued Circular No. 730, Series of 2011 on July 20, 2011 entitled “Updated Rules Implementing the Truth in Lending Act to Enhance Loan Transaction Transparency.” These Updated Rules shall take effect on July 1, 2012.

The Truth in Lending Act was a law passed in 1963 to promote awareness by the public of the true cost of credit.  It requires a creditor to furnish the debtor prior to the consummation of the transaction a clear statement showing, among others, the total amount to be financed, the finance charges, and the percentage that the finance charges bear to the total amount to be financed expressed as a simple annual rate.  A person who willfully violates the provisions of the Act may be fined or imprisoned, or both.  Violation of the Act, however, will not affect the validity of the credit transaction.

The Act gave the Monetary Board the power to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out its provisions.  Pursuant to that rulemaking power, the Monetary Board mandated under the Updated Rules that banks may only charge interest based on the outstanding balance of a loan at the beginning of an interest period. For a loan where the principal is payable in installments, interest per installment period shall be calculated based on the outstanding balance of the loan at the beginning of each installment period. All loan-related documents and marketing materials shall show repayment schedules in a manner consistent with these guidelines.

The Updated Rules also clarified the definition of finance charge as including interest, fees, service charges, discounts and such other charges incident to the extension of credit. On the other hand, simple annual rate has been defined as the uniform percentage which represents the ratio between the finance charge and the amount to be financed under the assumption that the loan is payable in one year with single payment upon maturity and there are no upfront deductions to principal. If the loan has terms different from these assumptions, the effective annual interest shall be calculated and disclosed to the borrower as the true cost of the loan. The total amount to be financed, the finance charges, expressed in terms of pesos and centavos, the net proceeds of the loan, and the percentage that the finance charge bears to the total amount to be financed expressed as a simple annual rate or an effective annual interest rate shall be disclosed to the borrower in a disclosure statement prior to the consummation of the transaction.

Banks are required to post in conspicuous places in their premises the information as contained in the revised format of disclosure statement and the posters shall include an explicit notice that the disclosure statement is a required attachment to the loan contract and that the customer has a right to demand a copy of such disclosure.

The revised format of disclosure statement is specifically targeted towards small business, retail and consumer loans, the borrowers of which, historically, are almost always the victims of lack of information or misinformation regarding the true cost of credit.

ERC Rules on Public Offering of Generation Companies and Distribution Utilities

The Energy Regulatory Commission adopted on May 23, 2011 Resolution No. 9 entitled “A Resolution Adopting the Rules Requiring Generation Companies and Distribution Utilities Which Are Not Publicly Listed to Offer and Sell to the Public a Portion of Not Less Than Fifteen Percent (15%) of Their Common Shares of Stock Pursuant to Section 43(t) of Republic Act No. 9136 and Rule 3, Section 4 (m) of Its Implementing Rules and Regulations.”

Pursuant to the Resolution, generation companies and distribution utilities (DUs) which are not publicly listed are required to offer and sell to the public not less than 15% of their common shares of stock. The public offering shall be made within five years from the effectivity of the Resolution for existing companies and within five years from the issuance by the ERC of their respective Certificates of Compliance for new companies.

The public offering may be done through the following modes: (i) listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange; and (ii) listing of the shares in any accredited stock exchange, or direct offer of the shares of stock of registered enterprises to the public and/or their employees when deemed feasible and desirable by the Board of Investments. However, the offer of common shares through an employee stock option plan is not considered a public offering since the offer is limited only to the employees of the generation companies or the DUs and not to the general public. The offer to employees may be considered public offering only when the generation company or DU is a registered enterprise under the Omnibus Investment Code.

Under the Resolution, the public offering requirement does not apply to: (i) self-generation facilities, (ii) generation companies and DUs already listed on the PSE, (iii) generation companies and DUs whose holding companies are already listed on the PSE, (iv) generation companies and DUs which are organized as partnerships, and (v) electric cooperatives which have no common shares of stock. On the other hand, the requirement applies to electric cooperatives which have common shares of stock, privately-owned DUs and LGU-owned and operated DUs.

Public Transport Assistance Program- Pantawid Pasada

Joint Circular No. 1 of the Departments of Energy, Finance, Budget and Management, Interior and Local Government and Transportation and Communications was issued on April 27, 2011 to implement Executive Order No. 32, Series of 2011, entitled “Instituting the Public Transport Assistance Program- Pantawid Pasada” (PTAP).  President Aquino issued this executive order to cushion the impact of the high cost of fuel on the public transportation sector, particularly the jeepney and tricycle drivers, who have been clamoring for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and the law imposing value-added tax on petroleum products.

Under the Joint Circular, the initial funding of P450 million for the PTAP will be sourced from the DOE-Special Account in the General Fund (SAGF) – 15 specifically from the Gas-Malampaya Revenue.  P300 million of the fund will be released to the DOE for the jeepney driver beneficiaries and P150 million to the DILG for the tricycle driver beneficiaries.

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Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009

The Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights jointly promulgated the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 which was published in newspapers of general circulation in December 2010. The Implementing Rules seek to implement the provisions of Republic Act No. 9745, entitled “An Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Prescribing Penalties Therefor.”

The Implementing Rules mostly just reiterates the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act, defining acts of torture and providing penalties for committing such acts, whether as principal, accomplice or accessory.  The Implementing Rules also reiterates that torture is a separate and independent crime and shall not absorb or be absorbed by any other crime or felony. Furthermore, persons guilty of torture shall not benefit from any special amnesty law or similar measures that will have the effect of exempting them from criminal proceedings or sanctions.

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Rules and Regulations Governing Deposits Not Covered by Deposit Insurance

Regulatory Issuance No. 2011-02 was published by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) last January to clarify which deposit accounts and transactions are excluded from the coverage of deposit insurance. It will be recalled that Congress passed Republic Act No. 9576 in 2009 which increased the maximum amount of deposits covered by PDIC insurance to P500,000. The same law excluded from the coverage of the PDIC insurance the following accounts or transactions: (i) investment products, such as bonds and securities, (ii) deposit accounts which are unfunded, or that are fictitious or fraudulent, (iii) deposit accounts constituting or emanating from unsafe or unsound banking practices, and (iv) deposits determined to be the proceeds of unlawful activity.

Under the PDIC regulation, the account is an investment product if no debtor-creditor relationship exists between the bank and the client, and instead, the relationship is that of trustor-trustee or principal-agent; the principal amount is not protected; the amount is not withdrawable on demand; and other analogous features.  On the other hand, deposit accounts are unfunded or are fictitious or fraudulent if the bank did not receive the money alleged to be deposited, or when the deposit is simulated or feigned, as when it was made to appear that money was received by the bank but in fact was not, or when the bank employed means calculated to deceive.

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