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Regulatory Environment in the Philippines

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system, with separation of power between the executive presidency, a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary.

  • Executive – composed of the President, Vice President and Cabinet. The President and Vice President are elected separately by universal suffrage, serving a six-year term (with the last elections held in 2016). The President appoints his Cabinet, which sits the heads of 20 Executive Departments. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provides the laws and regulations by which Hong Kong companies trading with and investing in the Philippines are required to abide. An organisation chart can be found on the DTI website.
  • Legislature – consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives which are responsible for making laws and repealing them. Senators are elected for six-year terms and representatives for three-year terms.
  • Judiciary – made up of the Supreme Court and lower courts, and responsible for settling disputes over rights that are legally demandable and enforceable.

The main legislative frameworks relevant for Hong Kong companies setting up in the Philippines are:

  • Corporation Code – sets out the requirements for incorporation and registration.
  • Foreign Investments Act (FIA) of 1991 – promulgated to attract and promote foreign investment.
  • Intellectual Property Code (1997) [amended in 2013 by Republic Act 10372] – preserves the Intellectual Property Code and establishes the Intellectual Property Office. 
  • Foreign Exchange Regulations (2017)Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, supervises financial institutions, rules on foreign exchange trade, and implements monetary policy to maintain price stability
  • Consumer Act of the Philippines (1992) – establishes standards of conduct for business and industry.


A Practical Guide to Doing Business in the Philippines

  1. Regulatory Environment
  2. Establishing a Presence
  3. Intellectual Property Protection
  4. Staff Recruitment
  5. Tax Considerations
  6. Import/Export Procedures
  7. Further information

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