FAQs on Business

1. Can I remain open for business? Maaari ba kaming manatiling bukas?

See Question 1 in Employers and Employees. Only those that provide basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production are permitted to remain open during the enhanced quarantine period provided that social distancing and other safety and health measures are strictly observed.

The call to remain open is emphasized for businesses that provide ​essential services such as banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants with online delivery service, and medical facilities.

Ang mga pagawaan, tindahan, at mga establisyimentong nagbibigay ng mga pangunahing pangangailangan lamang ang maaaring manatiling bukas habang may Enhanced Community Quarantine, subalit kailangan ang mahigpit na pagpapatupad ng social distancing at iba pang mga patakarang pangkaligtasan at pangkalusugan.

Ang panawagang manatiling bukas ay lalong higit para sa mga negosyong tumutugon sa mga pangunahing pangangailangan kagaya ng mga bangko, botika, pamilihan, pagamutan o pasilidad na pangmedikal, at mga restawran o kainang naghahatid ng pagkain.

2. I own a restaurant/ catering service. Can I remain open? Ako ay may-ari ng isang restaurant/catering service. Maaari ba akong manatiling bukas?

Yes only for pick-up and delivery. Since movement is restricted, it is best if the restaurant or catering service itself had its own in-house delivery service since GrabFood, FoodPanda are not currently in operation. It is also advised that you have your riders/ drivers bring with them a Certificate from your restaurant or catering service that they are indeed delivering food.

Oo, ngunit para lamang sa pick-up at delivery ng mga pagkain. Dahil limitado rin ang paggalaw at paglalakbay, mainam na may sariling delivery service ang iyong kumpanya. Marapat ding magdala ng certificate ang inyong riders na sila ay galing sa inyong restaurant at sila ay tunay ngang tapagdala ng pagkain ninyo.

3. What is Force Majeure and how does this affect my contracts? Ano ang force majeure at paano ito nakaaapekto sa aking mga kontrata?

"Force Majeure", also known as "fortuitous event" or "acts of God", refers to events which could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable. (Civil Code Art 1174). The Covid 19 pandemic is a declared example of force majeure.

Under the law, a case of force majeure generally excuses a person from performing its obligations under a contract, subject to observance of the following: i.) the cause for non-compliance with the obligation must be independent of the will of the person mandated to comply with the obligation; ii.) the event must be either unforeseeable or unavoidable; iii.) the must be such as to render it impossible to fulfill the obligation in a normal manner; and iv.) the person mandated to comply with the obligation must be free from any participation in, or aggravation of the injury to the person to whom the obligation shall be rendered.

There are exceptions though, to the rule that force majeure excuses a person from performing obligations under a contract, such as when the law or a provision of the contract says otherwise, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of risk. (Civil Code 1174)

Ang “force majeure”, o kilala din sa tawag na “fortuitous event” o “acts of god”, ay tumutukoy sa mga hindi inaasahang pangyayari, o kung inaasahan man ay tiyak na mangyayari o hindi maiiwasan (Civil Code, Art. 1174). Ang pandemyang COVID-19 ay isang halimbawa nito.

Bilang pangunahing panuntunan, walang pananagutan sa ilalim ng kontrata kapag may force majeure. Kung imposibleng makatupad ang isang partido sa kanyang mga obligasyon sa kontrata nang dahil sa force mejeure, siya ay walang pananagutan (Civil Code, Art. 1262). Ibig sabihin, maaaring hindi niya gampanan ang kanyang mga obligasyon sa kontrata at hindi niya kailangang magbayad ng danyos.

Subalit kapag direktang itinakda ng batas o ng kontrata na hindi naangkop ang prinsipyong force majeure sa mga tukoy na pagkakataon, o kung ang panganib o pakikipagsapalaran ay likas na kaakibat ng obligasyon, hindi maaaring gawing depensa ang force majuere



4. What are the examples of situations when the law makes a person liable even if there is force majeure? Ano ang mga halimbawa ng mga pagkakatong may pananagutan pa rin sa ilalim ng batas kahit may force majeure?

For example, if the person who, under the contract, is liable to deliver something is already in delay even before the fortuitous event occured, he or she is still responsible for any fortuitous event until he or she delivers. (Civil Code Art 1165) An example of this is if you were supposed to deliver something prior to the COVID-19 situation, the current situation, at best, will only exempt you from liability for the current period, but you would still be liable for the previous delay.

Furthermore, the person must not be guilty of negligence, otherwise he or she would still be liable even if there is force majeure. (Tan Chiong vs inchausti, 22 Phil. 152)

Kung bago pa man maganap ang force majeure ay may pagkaantala na sa pagganap ng kanyang obligasyon ang isang partido sa kontrata, mayroon pa rin siyang pananagutan kahit may force majeure (Civil Code, Art. 1165). Halimbawa, kung ang isang partido sa kontrata ay may bagay o halaga na kailangang ibigay at naantala ito bago pa man ang quarantine, mayroon pa rin siyang pananagutan sa pagkaantalang ito; subalit maaaring ibawas sa kanyang magiging pananagutan ang panahon ng pagkaantala nang dahil sa quarantine.

Dagdag pa rito, dapat ay walang anumang kapabayaan ang partido sa kontrata; kung may kapabayaan, mayroon pa rin siyang pananagutan kahit may force majeure (Tan Chiong v. Inchausti, 22 Phil. 152).

5. May we stipulate in the contract in advance that parties will be liable even if there is force majeure? Maaari bang pagkasunduan sa kontratang may pananagutan pa rin ang bawat partido kahit may force majeure?

In advance, yes. Not after the force majeure has taken place unless both parties agree.

Oo, kung payag ang magkabilang-panig, maaari nila itong pagkasunduan bago pa man ang force majeure o kahit naganap na ito.

6. So what does this all mean with respect to the contracts I have? Ano ang implikasyon ng lahat ng ito sa aking mga kontrata?

At the end of the day, it means that both sides will need to be reasonable. This is a new situation and sitting down with the person on the other side of the contract to renegotiate is something that is encouraged.

The general rule is that the force majeure event must ​actually ​prevent one or both parties from performing their side of the contract, whether partially or wholly. If this is not the case (ex. you can perform on the contract via the internet or without being hampered by the new regulations), then there is no force majeure to speak of and you would not be excused. COVID-19, in short, is not a get-out-of-jail free card to do work that you can (and should) do.

Sa bandang huli, kailangan ng bawat partido sa kontrata na maging makatwiran sa pagkakataong ito. Mas makabubuti at hinihikayat pa ring mag-usap ang magkabilang-panig at muling makipagnegosasyon kung kinakailangan.

Upang makaiwas sa pananagutan, kailangang patunayang aktwal na napigilan ng force majeure ang isang partido sa pagganap sa kabuuan o bahagi ng kanyang obligasyon. Kung hindi (halimbawa, kung maaari namang magawa pa rin ang trabaho o obligasyon gamit ang pasilidad kagaya ng internet nang hindi naman nahahadlangan ng mga bagong regulasyong pinaiiral bunsod ng quarantine), walang force majeure at hindi ka maaaring makalusot sa iyong obligasyon. Samakatuwid, hindi maaaring gawing palusot and COVID-19 upang hindi mo gampanan ang mga obligasyong kaya (o dapat) mo namang gawin.

7. What if my goods are in transit through Metro Manila i.e Business in Bulacan and Customer in Cavite? Paano kung ang mga produkto ko ay kailanghang dumaan ng Metro Manila (halimbawa, kung ang negosyo ay nasa Bulacan at ang kostumer ay nasa Cavite?)

The movement of cargoes within Luzon shall be unhampered​. This should then include cargo in transit through Metro Manila.

Pinapayagan at tuluy-tuloy lamang ang paglabas-pasok ng mga produkto at kalakal sa loob ng Luzon. Kasama rito ang mga produkto at kalakal na ibibiyahe o idadaan lamang sa loob ng Metro Manila.

8. Do I still need to continue paying mandatory SSS contributions during this period? Kailangan ko pa rin bang magbayad ng kontribusyon sa SSS sa panahon ng quarantine?

If the self-employed member realizes no income in any given month, he shall not be required to pay contributions for that month. He may, however, be allowed to continue paying contributions under the same rules and regulations applicable to a separate employee member.

Kung ang self-employed na kasapi ay walang kita sa kauukulang buwan, maaari na siyang hindi magbayad ng kontribusyon sa nasabing buwan. Subalit maaari siyang payagang ituloy ang kontribusyon ayon sa parehong patakaran at regulasyong angkop sa mga hiwalay na kasaping manggagawa.

(Section 11-A, RA 11199)

9. Do we still pay rent during the community quarantine? Kailangan pa rin ba kaming magbayad ng upa habang may quarantine?

Lessors of (1) business establishments in malls; and (2) businesses offering leisure and entertainment (such as, night clubs, bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, discotheques, beer parlors and pubs,theatre halls, gambling facilities) shall waive corresponding rental fees and charges of these establishments during the one-month period of General Community Quarantine. If your business falls under these categories then your lessor should waive rental fees and charges.

Ang mga nagpapaupa sa (1) mga negosyong nasa loob ng mga malls; at (2) mga negosyong may kinalaman sa paglilibang (leisure and entertainment) tulad ng night clubs, bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, discotheques, beer parlors and pubs, theater halls, at gambling facilities, ay inaatasang huwag maningil ng upa at iba pang mga bayarin sa loob ng isang buwan ng General Community Quarantine. Kung ang inyong negosyo ay isa sa mga nabanggit, hindi kayo dapat singilin at pagbayarin ng upa at iba pang gastusing konektado rito.

​(DTI Memorandum Circular 20-04​)