NEW PHILIPPINE LAWS
When the 16th Philippine Congress convened last July, almost 40 laws have lapsed into law after no action was taken by former President Benigno Aquino III and President Rodrigo Duterte. However, several laws piqued the interest of many.
Seven of them that took Filipinos’ attention the most were the following:
1. Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act
Also known as Republic Act 10906, the Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act “provides stronger measures against unlawful practices, businesses, and schemes of matching and offering Filipinos to foreign nationals for purposes of marriage or common-law partnership, repealing for the purpose Republic Act 6955, also referred to as the “Anti-Mail Order Bride Law.”
- 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of at least P500,000, but not more than P1-million
- If there are more than two people involved in the operation, all will be subject to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of at least P2-million, but not more than P5-million.
- Any accessories to the crime will be penalized with ten years of imprisonment and a fine of at least P100,000, but not more than P500,000.
- Foreign offenders will merit deportation, and those working for an establishment will penalize its owner as well.
2. Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Republic Act 10911, which will be effective beginning August 16, prohibits “discrimination against any individual in employment on account of age and providing penalties, therefore”. This Act will forbid employers from preventing promotion, compensation, or privilege based on the age of the employee.
This Act will also require recruitment agencies to aid those who seek employment and shall prohibit them from denying service due to the age of the individual.
- Imprisonment between 3 months to 10 years, and a fine of at least P50,000, but not more than P500,000.
3. Anti-Distracted Driving Act
The Anti-Distracted Driving Act, also known as Republic Act 10913, castigates drivers who use their phones in non-emergency situations, this is to prevent distracted drivers on the streets.
- 1st Offense: P5,000 fine
- 2nd Offense: P10,000 fine
- 3rd Offense: P15,000 fine and three months license suspension
- Drivers of PUVs, school buses, and toxic-material carriers who are caught within 50 meters of school premises will be subject to a P30,000 fine and a 3-month license suspension.
4. Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016
Republic Act 10916 “requires the mandatory installation of speed limiters in public utility and certain types of vehicles”. All public utility vehicles will have until 18 months after the law comes into effect to install the speed limiters.
- 1st Offense: Suspension of driver’s license for one month, suspension of franchise for three months
- 2nd Offense: Suspension of driver’s license for three months, suspension of franchise for six months, and imposed fines
- 3rd Offense: Revocation of license, suspension of franchise for at least one year, and imposed fines
- PUVs without a speed limiter installed will be restricted from applying for registration or a franchise permit, and will subject the operator to a P50,000 fine.
- Offenders who tamper with speed limiters will be penalized with 6-36 months imprisonment and a P30,000 fine.
5. Longer Prescription for Crimes of Graft and Corruption
An amendment to Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, was made, increasing the prescription period for violations against it from 15 years to 20 years. This amendment allows judgment to be carried out within 20 years.
6. Law on Mandatory Subtitles
The Law on Mandatory Subtitles, also known as Republic Act 10905, requires “all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of television programs to broadcast or present their programs with closed captions option, and for other purposes.
This law is to aid the deaf community with subtitles. However it holds exemptions for public service announcements that will air for less than 10 minutes, or if providing subtitles will be too expensive. It also holds exemptions for programs airing between 1AM-6AM, and for those that are already textual in nature.
- Imprisonment for at least 6-12 months, and a fine of at least P50,000, but not more than P100,000
- License to operate may also be revoked.
7. No Shortchanging Act of 2016
The act that prohibits business establishments “from giving insufficient or no change to consumers and providing penalties, therefore” is known as Republic Act 10909 or the No Shortchanging Act of 2016. It also requires establishments to label their product with the exact price to be paid for the benefit of their customers.
- 1st Offense: A fine of P500 or 3% of gross sales (whichever is higher)
- 2nd Offense: A fine of P5,000 or 5% of gross sales (whichever is higher)
- 3rd Offense: A fine of P15,000 or 7% of gross sales (whichever is higher) and a 3-month suspension of operations