In every country there are business and commerce laws that every business owner and entrepreneur should be aware of. In the Philippines, there are also laws and regulations that govern businesses from registration, operation, up to termination. It is important that business owners and entrepreneurs know what business laws are applicable to their type of business and activities. These laws and rules should be followed to avoid punishments, charges and penalties from the government or authorities that are implementing and enforcing them. Some of these laws are not only created to obligate business owners to do their duties but they are also made to obligate the government to protect these business owners. To make sure you are doing business legally and to know the decrees that give your business protection and privileges, the following is a list business laws in the Philippines that entrepreneurs should be aware of.
1. Tax Reform Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8424) –which amended the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) is the law that governs the national taxation in the Philippines and gives the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the power and duty to assess and collect national internal revenue taxes in the country.
2. The Local Government Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 7160) – is the law governing local taxation in the Philippines, including the taxation on real properties.
3. Labor Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 442) – is the law that governs employment practices and labor relations in the Philippines.
4. Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (R.A. 8293) – is the law that governs the registration of patents, trademarks and copyright, and the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines.
5. The Corporation Code of the Philippines (B.P. 68) – is the law that governs the registration and regulation of corporations in the Philippines.
6. Civil Law of the Philippines (R.A. No. 386) – the civil code of the Philippines includes the laws on obligations and contracts. It also governs special contracts such as contract of agency and partnership.
7. Social Security Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8282) – the law that mandates employers to register their business and their employees with the Social Security System (SSS).
8. National Health Insurance Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 7875) – the act that mandates employers to register their business and their employees with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth.
9. Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009 (R.A. No. 9679) – the act that mandates employers to register their business and their employees with the Pag-Ibig Fund (HDMF).
10. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009 (R.A. No. 9711) – the law that governs the inspection, registration, licensing and monitoring of establishments and health products.
11. The Philippine Fisheries Code (R.A. No. 8550) – the law that governs commercial fishing in the Philippines.
12. The Animal Welfare Act of 1998 (R.A. No. 8485) – the act that governs the supervision and regulation of the establishment and operation of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating, or training of all animals in the Philippines.
13. Securities Regulation Code of the Philippines (R.A. No. 8799) – the law that governs the registration and regulation of securities, pre-need plans, and securities market professionals – and the protection of shareholder interests in the Philippines,
14. Financing Company Act of 1998 (R.A. No. 8556) – the Act that governs the registration and regulation of financial companies in the Philippines.
15. Truth in Lending Act (R.A. No. 3765) - An Act to Require the Disclosure of Finance Charges in Connection with Extensions of Credit
16. Consumer Act of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 7394) – The law that protects the interest of the consumers in the Philippines, promote their general welfare, and establish standards of conduct for business and industry.
17. Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (R.A. 8792) – an act providing for the recognition and use of electronic commercial and non- commercial transactions, penalties for the unlawful use thereof, and for other purposes.
18. The Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), as amended (RA 9501) – an Act to promote entrepreneurship in the Philippines by strengthening development and assistance programs to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.
19. Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) Act of 2002 (R.A. No. 9178) – a law that promotes the establishment of Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) in the Philippines, and provides incentives and benefits such as income tax exemption and access to financial, infrastructural, marketing, and knowledge support from the government.
20. Insurance Act of the Philippines, as amended – the law that governs the insurance business and insurance transactions in the Philippines.
21. Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (R.A. No. 7042) – the law that governs foreign investments in the Philippines.
22. Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004 (R.A. 9262) – a law that protects women and children in the workplace.
23. Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 (R.A. 9520) – the law governing the registration, regulation and promotion of cooperatives in the Philippines.
24. Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (RA 9160) – An Act that aims to protect and preserve the integrity and confidentiality of bank accounts and to ensure that the Philippines shall not be used as a money laundering site for the proceeds of any unlawful activity
25. The Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (RA 9485) – an act enacted to improve efficiency in the delivery of government services to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape, preventing graft and corruption in all the offices of the government.
There are still other laws in the Philippines that are applicable to your specific business or industry which I’ve missed to include above. Furthermore, there may be subsequent laws that the Philippine government might enact in the future to partly or fully amend the laws listed above. There will also be new laws that might be applicable to your business in the future and may affect its operation. Hence, always be updated with the business related laws in the Philippines. Remember that these laws are not only created to give you duties and responsibilities, but they are also created to mandate the government or the state to protect and promote you and your business.