Philippines: International Arbitration
November 16, 2023
SyCipLaw has contributed the Philippine chapter of The Legal 500: International Arbitration Comparative Guide. Senior Partner and Head of Litigation Department Ricardo Ma. P.G. Ongkiko co-authored the chapter with Partners Anthony W. Dee, John Christian Joy A. Regalado, and Ma. Patricia B. Paz-Jacoba.
The guide provides an overview of International Arbitration laws and regulations applicable in the Philippines.
1. What legislation applies to arbitration in your country? Are there any mandatory laws?
Republic Act No. 9285, or the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 (ADR Act), is the legislation that applies to arbitration in the Philippines. In particular, it provides that (a) international commercial arbitration shall primarily be governed by the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985 Model Law), (b) domestic arbitration shall continue to primarily be governed by Republic Act No. 876 (Arbitration Law), and (c) the arbitration of construction disputes shall continue to be governed by Executive Order No. 1008.
2. Is your country a signatory to the New York Convention? Are there any reservations to the general obligations of the Convention?
Yes, the Philippines signed and ratified the New York Convention. The Philippines signed the New York Convention in June 1958 on the basis of reciprocity and, upon ratifying the same on July 6, 1967, declared that it would apply the Convention to the recognition and enforcement of awards made only in the territory of another contracting state and only to differences that arise out of legal relationships, whether contractual or not, which are considered commercial in nature under the national law of the state that is making the declaration.
3. What other arbitration-related treaties and conventions is your country a party to?
The Philippines is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention).
4. Is the law governing international arbitration in your country based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? Are there significant difference between the two?
Yes, the ADR Act provides that the 1985 Model Law primarily governs international commercial arbitration seated in the Philippines. There are no significant differences. However, sections 26, 27, 28, 30, and 31 of the ADR Act modify and supplement certain provisions of the 1985 Model Law. Moreover, the ADR Act additionally provides for legal representation in international arbitration, subject to certain limitations [ADR Act, Section 22] and for confidentiality in arbitration proceedings, subject to certain exceptions [ADR Act, Section 23].
5. Are there any impending plans to reform the arbitration laws in your country?
As of August 2023, Senate Bill No. 1308 (dated September 12, 2022) remains pending in the Senate. The Bill proposes to adopt the 2006 amendments to the 1985 Model Law to update the international commercial arbitration practices in the Philippines to conform with present international standards.
Subscribe to our Mailing List
Follow us on LinkedIn
Follow us on Facebook
Subscribe to SyCipLaw RSS