July 2023

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Collection District XII – Port of Davao, spearheaded by District Collector Atty. Erastus Sandino B. Austria, in cooperation with SGV, organized the first-ever Mindanao Customs Summit held in Davao City. About 200 participants from various economic sectors attended the summit with the theme “Empowering MSMEs through Seamless Automated BOC Services.”  SGV delegates with District Collector Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria. (From left to right: Atty. James Gregorio, Atty. Jennyllette Dignadice, Atty. Erika Joy Ruiz, Ms. Frenzie Berenguel, Atty. Alden Patrick Labaguis, District Collector Erastus Sandino Austria, Atty, Stephanie Nava, Atty. Auresana B. Ines, Atty. Victor C. de Dios, Atty. Gracia Mae Beronilla, Atty. Charlene Joy Millares)  SGV Tax Principals Atty. Stephanie “Steph” V. Nava (SVN), Atty. Victor C. de Dios (VCD), and Atty. Alden Patrick C. Labaguis (ACL), and Partner Atty. Auresana “Rhena” B. Ines (ABI) discussed best practices of successful business enterprises, which include proactive compliance with government rules and regulations.  Rhena discussed the impact of transfer pricing considerations in customs-related issues, especially the importance of transfer pricing documentation in cases of import transactions between related parties and the implications of upward or downward adjustments on customs valuation. Steph, Victor and Alden emphasized that the BOC has the power to conduct compliance audits in two levels of assessments, namely: (1) the post-entry modification of duties and taxes and (2) the post-clearance audit of duties and taxes. They added that to do well on both audits, preventive rather than curative measures should be employed.  SGV delegates with Hon. Bienvenido Rubio, Commissioner of Customs, District Collector Erastus Sandino B. Austria, and other customs officials The summit also featured representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Board of Investments (BOI), and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program Office, who encouraged importers and exporters, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to avail themselves of the perks and benefits of the government accreditation programs (i.e., BOI accreditation, AEO accreditation, etc.) to enhance their business pursuits. A walkthrough of import and export procedures was also covered during the summit to guide importers and exporters in managing their transactions with the BOC following the recent automation of most BOC processes.  The event was made possible through the efforts of the BOC organizing team led by Administrative Division Chief Nica Chynna Tan-Concepcion, and in close coordination with SGV Associate Director Atty. Gracia Mae A. Beronilla and Senior Associates, Atty. Charlene Joy W. Millares, and Atty. James E. Gregorio.  This collaboration between the BOC and SGV is a manifestation that the dynamics between the BOC and its stakeholders in the private sector – including but not limited to importers and exporters, as well as SGV as a tax advisor – involves collaborations ultimately geared toward attaining business sustainability and economic growth through continuous compliance with laws, rules, regulations, and procedures. 
SGV honored 17 outstanding individuals in the Firm’s 2023 Learning & Development (L&D) Excellence Awards held on 2 June 2023. Winners were recognized in three award categories, namely Facilitator Impact, Rising Star, and Thought Leadership. The individual and team awardees were recognized for their dedication, expertise, and creativity as outstanding facilitators. The program also highlighted their invaluable contribution to SGV's learning culture and L&D initiatives.  SGV L&D Excellence Award Grand Winner James Geile C. Barreras (center) with (from left to right) Consulting Partner Allan W. Ocho (AWO), Consulting Markets Co-Leader Maria Kathrina S. Macaisa-Peña (KSM), Vice Chair and Deputy Managing Partner Vivian C. Ruiz (VCR), and Consulting Partner Conrad Allan M. Alviz (CMA) Technology Consulting Associate James Geile C. Barreras is this year’s grand winner and recipient of both the SGV L&D Excellence Award and the Thought Leadership Award. He organized training sessions for team members to become knowledgeable and certified in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform. He helped equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver successful projects in these areas. Facilitator Impact Awardees Assurance Senior Manager Christian T. Mahusay, Global Compliance and Reporting (GCR) Senior Manager Meynard L. Sardalla, Consulting Manager James Robert D. Aguila, and Business Enablement Services (BES) Associate Director Diorella M. Ontimare-Dela Cruz received the Facilitator Impact Award. This award is given to experienced facilitators who have demonstrated exceptional expertise and commitment in the field of facilitation and have dedicated a significant number of hours to facilitating L&D sessions. Rising Star Awardees Assurance Manager Romeo C. Barrogo, Tax Manager Marian Kris B. Santos, Consulting Senior Associate Noreen B. Canatoy, Strategy and Transactions (SaT) Senior Director Lester Jeff D. Pawid and BES Senior Associate Justine Jose Marie P. Pabalan received the Rising Star Award. This award acknowledges the exceptional potential and talent of up-and-coming facilitators. These individuals demonstrated a strong passion for continuous improvement and were recognized as future leaders in the field of L&D.  Financial Services Organization (FSO) Senior Manager Cathy Biliran receives the Thought Leadership Award on behalf of the FSO team Thought Leadership Awardees The FSO webinar team composed of FSO Senior Director Mary Catherine M. Biliran, FSO Consulting Senior Director Russel N. Ailes, FSO Senior Director Leomar G. Velez, FSO Consulting Director Christopher Gerard G. Yu, Tax Senior Director Mira F. Ramirez-Uy, SaT Senior Director Lester Jeff D. Pawid and FSO Tax Senior Associate Krizia Mae P. Reamico received the Thought Leadership Award. GCR Senior Manager Maria Michaela E. Ledesma also received the award. This award honors experienced facilitators or teams for contributing innovative ideas and insights to the L&D community, pushing the boundaries of traditional training methods, and making remarkable contributions as subject matter resource speakers.  L&D team members pose for a group photo The winners received plaques and cash prizes. They were selected through an extensive evaluation process. SaT Partner Smith C. Lim (SCL), Assurance Partner Benigno F. Leongson (BFL), Consulting Partner Conrad Allan M. Alviz (CMA), GCR Partner Saha A. Bulagsak (SAB), Assurance Partner Kristopher S. Catalan (KSC), Tax Principal Alden Patrick C. Labaguis (ACL), and BES Senior Director Rowena O. Julian-Bautista comprised the panel of judges. Congratulations to the winners!
SGV hosted a Consumer Products and Retail (CPR) seminar entitled Getting ahead of the changing consumer and disruption held at Shangri-La The Fort, Manila on 20 June 2023. SGV Partners, EY Parthenon Partners, and top business executives were speakers and panelists in the event attended by over 60 top executives of leading companies in the CPR sector. (From left to right) Vivian, Olivier, Jing Jie Tan, Marie Nicolette Dizon, Aashish Midha, Shaurya Ahuja and Wilson pose for a group photo SGV Chairman and Country Managing Partner Wilson P. Tan (WPT) delivered the welcome remarks. For the first part of the program, EY Parthenon Partner and APAC Consumer Products & Retail Leader Olivier Gergele and EY Parthenon Digital Transformation Partner Shaurya Ahuja talked about the ever-evolving nature of the CPR sector.  Olivier, Jing Jie Tan, Marie Nicolette, Aashish Midha and Shaurya Ahuja during the panel discussion Their sessions were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Olivier and EY Parthenon Director Jing Jie Tan. Century Pacific Food, Inc. Vice President and Frozen Food Division General Manager Marie Nicolette Dizon, Zalora Philippines and Indonesia Managing Director and CEO Aashish Midha and Shaurya Ahuja were the panelists. Benjie discusses the EPR Act of 2022 SGV Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) Partner Benjamin “Benjie” N. Villacorte (BNV) was the resource speaker for the second part of the program. He talked about Republic Act No. 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022. Benjie with Juan Lorenzo Tañada and Crispian Lao in a panel discussion Benjie’s session was followed by a panel discussion featuring National Solid Waste Management Commission Vice Chairman Crispian Lao and Coco-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director Juan Lorenzo Tañada. Wilson, Benjie, Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Crispian Lao and Vivian pose for a group photo SGV Vice Chair and Deputy Managing Partner Vivian C. Ruiz (VCR) delivered the closing remarks. Philippines Consulting Markets Co-Leader and CPR Leader Maria Kathrina “Kay” S. Macaisa-Peña (KSM) and Strategy and Transactions (SaT) Partner Marie Stephanie “Steph” C. Tan-Hamed (MTH) hosted the event. Vivian, Kay, and Steph were also part of the organizing team along with Indirect Tax Principal Alden Patrick C. Labaguis (ACL).
Members of the SGV Indirect Tax (IDT) team participated in the Emerging and Strategic Technology Control and Compliance Workshop held at the Makati Diamond Residences Hotel. The workshop brought together representatives from the academe, commerce and industry, government, and public practice sectors to discuss the challenges and best practices in technology control and compliance. It facilitated knowledge sharing and fostered collaboration among the attendees from different sectors. Emerging and Strategic Technology Control and Compliance Workshop participants SGV Indirect Tax team members Senior Director Atty. Yzrael Edwin Pineda, Director Atty. Erika Joy S Ruiz and Senior Associates Gabriel Carumba and Francis Escala actively participated in the workshop, which provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of technology control and compliance.  The workshop was sponsored and hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry - Strategic Trade Management Office (DTI-STMO) and the Department of State of the United States of America in collaboration with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Center for Policy Research, University at Albany - State University of New York. The two-day workshop involved informative sessions on a range of topics. Day 1 included discussions on case studies of unauthorized acquisition of strategic and emerging technology, contemporary trends in technology management, sector-specific considerations for emerging technologies, compliance practices in Japan and India, introduction to Technology Control Plans (TCPs), and TCP development tools.  The Day 2 sessions covered sectoral guidance, trends in controls on foreign direct investment (FDI), FDI controls in the Asia Pacific region, transaction screening and due diligence. There were also group interactive exercises led by Consulting experts, simulating real-world cases.
Members of the SGV Tax team participated in the Association of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) Finance Executives (ASEFEX) Online Q2 General Membership Meeting (GMM) on 26 May 2023. Event poster SGV Strategy and Transactions (SaT) Partner Marie Stephanie “Steph” C. Tan-Hamed (MTH) led the discussion on Digital Government: Creating Real Connections while IDT Senior Director Atty. Jo Ann Marie O. Casio talked about recent Customs updates. Steph highlighted the results of an EY study conducted on connected citizens. She also listed the seven citizen personas in connection with the government’s provision of digital services and described the four priorities of the government to address digital challenges. Atty. Jo Ann provided an in-depth explanation on recent Customs updates. She discussed the five Point Priority Programs under the new administration as well as some Bureau of Customs (BOC) updates. She expounded on the laws and regulations on Customs Bonded Warehouses, ATA Carnet System, and the Guidelines in the Implementation of the Liquidation and Billing System and Post-entry Modification of SAD by the Liquidation and Billing Division or Equivalent Unit.   Logistics Market Sector Leader and Indirect Tax (IDT) Partner Atty. Stephanie V. Nava (SVN), Technology Market Sector Leader and Assurance Partner Manolito R. Elle (MRE), International Tax and Transaction Services (ITTS) Partner Atty. Auresana B. Ines (ABI), and IDT Principal Atty. Alden Patrick C. Labaguis (ACL), in association with IDT Senior Associates Atty. Andrea Nicole C. Loreno and Jan Carlo K. Azada Chua coordinated participation in the online event.
The SGV Financial Services Organization (FSO) team relaunched its FSO University Lecture Series and Career Talks in May. The team conducted two sessions on different topics at the SGV Cebu Office and at the Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights Campus. These sessions were also streamed via MS Teams and Zoom, respectively. FSO University Lecture Series Part 1 – Cebu leg invitation SGV FSO Leader and Business Consulting Partner Christian “Ian” G. Lauron (CGL), SGV FSO Senior Managers Cathy Biliran and Russel Ailes, and SGV FSO Managers Anderson Bondoc and Monica Perdices were the speakers in the Cebu leg entitled Financial Services: Industry Direction, Enabling Technologies, and Regulatory Developments.  Ian welcomed the participants from Cebu universities and provided an overview of the series. He also moderated the Q&A session and delivered the closing message. FSO team members Monica, Anderson, and Russel talked about the Philippine banking system, data and technology, and regulatory, risk and reporting developments, respectively, while Cathy gave an overview of the Firm and its service lines.  FSO University Lecture Series Part 2 – Ateneo leg poster FSO University Lecture Series Part 2 – Ateneo leg speakers The second leg of the series held in Ateneo was entitled Financial Services: Mathematical Finance, Actuarial and Data Science. The main speakers were Ian, SGV FSO Senior Manager Dominique Raissa “Nikki” Torralba, SGV FSO Managers Kristine Faith Valle, Jan Vincent Ybut, and Elijah Jesus Puaben, and SGV Talent Associate Moriel Isurda. SGV Consulting Partners Francisco Roque “Francis” A. Lumbres (FAL) and Anurag Mishra (AM) were also present as resource persons.  FSO University Lecture Series Part 2 – Ateneo leg speakers Christian G. Lauron, Elijah Puaben, Nikki Torralba, Moriel Isurda, Faith Valle and Jan Vincent Ybut with some of the participants Ian delivered the welcome address. He highlighted the importance of Financial Services Risk Management and the role of the FSO team. Francis and Anurag also shared their working experiences. The speakers discussed various case studies in the financial service industry, covering Risk Management, Financial Instruments, Sustainable Finance, Industry Transformation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, respectively. Moriel talked about internships and career opportunities in the Firm. The FSO University Lecture Series and Career Talks series will continue to be conducted in other schools and universities. 
SGV Indirect Tax (IDT) Principal Atty. Stephanie “Steph” V. Nava (SVN) was one of the speakers in the 2023 Annual Legal Council of the General Counsel Group of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. (JGSHI) entitled “Art of Letting Go: The Business Closure 101.” About 75 General Counsel Group members and lawyers from various units of the Gokongwei Group attended the assembly. Certificate of Appreciation awarded to SGV IDT Principal Atty. Stephanie V. Nava  Steph shared her insights on business closure tax-saving tips and insights. She discussed the business cycle — from opening a business to closing one and the corresponding mandatory requirements and processes outlined by pertinent laws, rules or regulations. Steph concluded her discussion by sharing tips and best practices relative to the closure of business including the required submissions to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), local government unit (LGU), and Bureau of Customs (BOC). Her discussion was followed by a brief question-and-answer portion and an open discussion. Other speakers were ACCRA Law Partner Atty. Eric R. Recalde, JGSHI Director and Head of Labor Atty. Alfred Pagayatan, and JGSHI Assistant Corporate Secretary Atty. Andre Ria Buzeta-Acero. Steph and IDT Senior Director Atty. Jo Ann Marie O. Casio coordinated participation in the virtual meeting. Associate Director Atty. Gracia Mae A. Beronilla and Senior Associates Atty. Charlene Joy W. Millares and Atty. James E. Gregorio were also part of the organizing team.
SGV Indirect Tax (IDT) Principal Atty. Alden C. Labaguis (ACL) talked about ethical leadership and good governance in an interview with Public Administration Major students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) on 8 June 2023. Alden (center) with PUP student interviewers Alden shared insights regarding the pivotal role of leadership and good governance in professional responsibilities. According to Alden, good governance encompasses the meticulous management of teams, adherence to ethical standards, and the successful completion of engagements and projects. Alden also expressed his personal purpose statement, which revolves around practicing kindness, sincerity, pursuing excellence, maintaining integrity, and offering assistance to others. Alden highlighted that these core values will serve as a driving force for people to overcome obstacles and make a positive impact. To conclude the interview, Alden emphasized that embracing and promoting good governance goes beyond a mere professional obligation; it is a personal commitment. Furthermore, he underscored the importance of surrounding oneself with kind, happy, and competent individuals with integrity who can contribute to a supportive and healthy working environment. IDT Associate Director Atty. Lauren Antonette M. Mendoza and IDT Senior Associates and Attys. Kierk Robin M. Ret, Andrea Nicole C. Loreno, James E. Gregorio, and Natividad G. Busa helped coordinate the interview. 
Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) Directors Diana Sadili-Chu and Ricky Maulion Jr. served as speakers at the 21st Annual Business Leadership Program (BLP) organized by The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham) on 2 June 2023. Thirty students from different regions in the country, representing a variety of courses and academic disciplines, attended the intensive immersion program which allowed them to interact with leading businesses and top executives in the Philippines. Diana talks about sustainability (Photo courtesy of AmCham) Diana opened the session by introducing SGV CCaSS to the participants and discussing the relevance of sustainability in today’s world. She highlighted the benefits of sustainability reporting, its drivers and the reporting process, and the key topics that may be found in a company’s sustainability reports. Diana also briefly touched on the significance of assurance in sustainability reporting and how it supports the integrity and credibility of sustainability reports. Ricky interacts with some of the participants (Photo courtesy of AmCham) Ricky discussed the future of sustainability reporting and how local regulations are impacted by global developments in the reporting landscape. He shared the building block approach of the International Sustainability Standards Board and an overview of the content requirements of the upcoming International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Sustainability Disclosure Standards. To engage the participants, he facilitated an interactive session which emphasized key lifestyle advice and recommendations for everyone to create a positive impact on sustainable development. Diana and Ricky concluded the session by addressing questions from the participants.  AmCham BLP 2023 speakers, organizers, and participants (Photo courtesy of AmCham)  Through the AmCham BLP program, the students were able to gain a better understanding of how businesses contribute to national development as well as a broader perspective on important global business and economic challenges that would be useful to them in the future. 
The Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) team hosted a WebCCaSS session titled “Leaving No One Behind: An Exploration of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The session covered the 17 global goals aimed at improving the planet and the quality of human life around the world by 2030 and informed the participants on how to contribute to the achievement of these goals. Three hundred eighty-six SGVeans attended the session on 26 May 2023. CCaSS team discusses SGV’s alignment with the UN SDGs CCaSS Associate Director Rosheena E. Borlaza, Senior Associate Kristine G. Pulido, and Associates Jean Fonollera and Rench Zeus R. Ramos gave an overview of the UN SDGs. They covered topics on the history of the UN SDGs, the five pillars that shape the UN SDGs, and SGV's alignment with the SDGs, highlighting the firm’s initiatives and projects that help reach local and global sustainability targets. They also discussed what comes after 2030 for the Philippines and provided an overview of the Philippine government's "Ambisyon Natin 2040."  CCaSS Partner Conrad Allan M. Alviz (CMA) concluded the session by thanking the organizers and speakers. He also urged SGVeans to take action in achieving the sustainability goals.  The SAVE Council’s WebCCaSS initiative is a quarterly one-hour webcast that covers concepts, trends, regulations, and industry practices around sustainability and climate change.