Legal Updates for July 2020

Regional Shipping Update: Philippine Shipping Law Developments in 2nd Quarter of 2020

This Second Quarter 2020 issue of the Regional Shipping Update of Rajah & Tann Asia’s Shipping & International Trade Practice provides a summary of the following key shipping law developments in the Philippines:

  • Supreme Court Issues Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases
  • Department of Transportation Creates the Shippers’ Protection Office
  • Heirs of Licuanan v. Singa Ship Management, Inc.: A Seafarer’s Heirs are Entitled to Death Benefits for Work-related Illness Even if Death Occurs After the Term of Contract
Going Remote – Challenges Employers Face in Work from Home Arrangements

The term "the new norm" is widely used in mainstream media and can be said to have become synonymous with social distancing, the application of face masks, body temperature checks, etc. In the context of employment, this new norm can be associated with the Work-From-Home ("WFH") arrangements that allow employees to discharge their duties and obligations from home. Needless to say, the second quarter of 2020 has seen a sharp rise in the percentage of employees with WFH arrangements, particularly those from the service sector.

With the gradual lifting of government restrictions, we are now witnessing more economic sectors reopening. Things are slowly but surely reverting to “the old norm”. That said, there are businesses that continue to allow their employees to opt for WFH arrangements.

In this Update, we examine some of the challenges businesses face in the context of employment laws and highlight the need for effective WFH policies to be created and implemented.

Large Scale Solar Power Plants – Fourth Competitive Bidding Round (LSS@MEnTARI): Clarification on Foreign Participation

The Energy Commission/Suruhanjaya Tenaga ("ST") recently released its first response to queries received on LSS@MEnTARI regarding the Request for Proposal ("RFP"). Notably, some of the clarifications amount to what appears to be a major shift from the initial position in the RFP on participation by foreign players. The ST has now clarified that participation by foreign players in the bidding entity or any of its corporate shareholders will be permitted, subject to certain conditions. This represents a fundamental change in approach on the matter and it is expected that this would give rise to a significant increase in foreign interest in the LSS@MEnTARI programme.