Philippines

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 6.56.27 PMBy Martin Luigi G Samson, ACCRA Law

 

Mental health conditions, which include anxiety and panic disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and addictions, have become a pervasive issue which permeates our present society. Anyone can be affected by these conditions regardless of nationality, age, or gender.

These conditions have been recently brought to fore by celebrities who acknowledged that they suffered problems relating to their mental health, or worse, suffered their early demise when they lost their respective battles with their mental health conditions. If celebrities who appear to have everything they could possibly have in their lives succumb to their mental health conditions, then the ordinary working Filipino is not immune to these problems.

The workplace, and all the expectations of productivity, deadlines, performance evaluations, and the avalanche of information from different sources not only lead to stress but can actually take a toll on one’s mental health. Despite this reality, the topic of mental health remains taboo. Some employees are afraid that talking about any mental health condition will lead to their discrimination, or worse, result in the loss of their jobs.

In passing the Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036), the government took a step towards affirming the right of all Filipinos, not only the workers, to good mental health and mental health services.

With the passage of the law, employees no longer need to fear that they will be discriminated against since the Mental Health Act decrees that persons affected by mental health conditions should be allowed to exercise the full range of human rights and participate fully in society and work, free from stigmatisation and discrimination.

Likewise, the Mental Health Act requires the confidentiality of all information, communications and records, in whatever form or medium stored, regarding the person experiencing mental health condition. Generally, the information, communication and records cannot be disclosed to third parties without the written consent of the person experiencing a mental health condition or his legal representatives, subject to certain exceptions.

Violation of the provisions on non-discrimination and non-disclosure may lead to a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six months, but not more than two years; or a fine of not less than P10,000, but not more than P200,000; or both, at the discretion of the court.

Further, employers are now required to develop appropriate policies and programs on mental health in the workplace designed to: 1) Raise awareness on mental health issues; 2) Correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; 3) Identify and provide support for individuals at risk; and 4) Facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.

In this regard, the Department of Labor and Employment has been directed to: 1) Develop guidelines and standards on appropriate and evidence-based mental health programs for the workplace; and 2) Develop policies that promote mental health in the workplace and address stigma and discrimination suffered by people with mental health conditions.

The determination of the existence of a mental health condition is based on scientifically accepted medical nomenclature and best available scientific and medical evidence. Persons experiencing mental health conditions may avail of mental health services even down to the barangay level. The Mental Health Act also integrates psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals, and mandates the improvement of mental healthcare facilities.

The Mental Health Act does not expressly mandate free psychiatric consultations and medicines for those in need of them. As it stands, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) only covers hospitalisation brought about by acute attacks of mental and behavioural disorders at a package rate of P7,800. This however, may still be remedied since the Mental Health Act directed the Department of Health, which has been charged with the formulation, development, and implementation of a national mental health program, to coordinate with the PHIC to ensure that insurance packages equivalent to those covering physical disorders of comparable impact are made available to patients affected by mental health conditions.

When employees are happy, they are more likely to perform well at work. When they suffer, their work also declines. This legislation encourages employees to be open and take care of their mental health. However, the war for mental health advocates does not end here, they need to ensure that the implementing rules and regulations of the Mental Health Act provide for the necessary provisions for the proper execution of this new law.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This article is for general informational and educational purposes only and not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.

(Note: This article first appeared in Business World, a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.)

 

ACCRALAW LOGO

 

 

 

 

 

W: www.accralaw.com

E: mgsamson@accralaw.com

T: (632) 830 8000

Related Articles by Firm
The POGO problem: Harmonising immigration, gaming and gambling
It is highly illegal to gamble in China save for a few state-run lotteries. To avoid this prohibition, gambling companies operate offshore so that they may continue catering to Chinese nationals who play casino and e-games online ...
Developments in the Philippine Competition Commission’s enforcement activities
Early this year, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) Enforcement Office launched a leniency/whistleblower programme offering immunity from suit and reduction of fines to cartel members who will provide information that will help the PCC investigate and prosecute cartels ...
Revisiting the AMLA in light of transnational money laundering
For several decades, money laundering has extended the reach of transnational organised crime throughout various nations ...
Revisiting important concepts in arbitration
Philippine courts are keen on making arbitration and other modes of ADR the staple in settling disputes domestically.
Keeping your mobile number for a lifetime
A new law facilitates the easy movement of subscribers from one service provider to another.
The right to know: Freedom of information in the Supreme Court
Like all other rights, the “right to know” is not an absolute right.
The Philippines 11th Foreign Investment Negative List and its impact on online businesses
A more liberalised foreign participation may change the internet-based business landscape in the Philippines ...
The Philippine Competition Commission bares its teeth
For the first time since its inception in 2015, the Commission has blocked a merger after conducting its review.
A peek into the revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
On February 20, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11232, otherwise known as the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines (the New Code) ...
Philippines: Protecting indigenous knowledge systems and practices in intellectual property rights registration
Indigenous peoples (IPs) and indigenous cultural communities (ICCs), though explicitly protected under the constitution itself, sadly remain one of the most marginalised and forgotten sectors in Philippine society ...
Philippines: The right to know – Freedom of information in the Supreme Court
Freedom of Information is a right enshrined in our fundamental law ...
Investments for the environment
In a recent report released by the leading international body for assessment of climate change, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), established a target global warming limit of 1.5°C ...
The PCC’s Joint Venture Guidelines
The Philippine Competition Commission must strive to strike a balance ...
The Ease of Doing Business Act tapers red tape
RA 11032 is a welcome step towards achieving the quality government services that Filipinos deserve.
Much EndO about nothing
President Duterte says he has put an end to the “Endo” or the practice of engaging employees on a contractual basis. But has he?
Philippines: Proposed rules and regulations on crowdfunding
Crowdfunding (CF) platforms have proven to be a popular way to solicit charitable donations and to raise funds for projects or business ventures ...
Virtual currency in the Philippines: Recognition and regulation
Bitcoin is essentially a virtual currency (VC), which is any type of digital unit that is used as a medium of exchange — a veritable currency that exists in the digital world. Since it is electronic currency, VC is easily transferable ...
Protection of women employees in the Philippines
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap (GGG) Report conducted in 2016, the Philippines is the most gender-equal country in the Asia-Pacific region, having closed nearly 79 percent of its gender gap ...
Anti-Trust & Competition: Philippines - Towards robust yet balanced competition in the Philippines
The state of Philippine competition regulation has been slowly taking shape barely over two years after the passage of the Philippine Competition Act (RA 10667) ...
PHILIPPINES: The internet and doing business in the Philippines
Earlier this year, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an opinion stating that an online gaming system with absolutely no physical presence in the Philippines shall be considered as “doing business” in the Philippines and was thus required ...
Philippines: Psychological disorders in the workplace
The problem of mental health presents a particular conundrum under labour relations and standards ...
Clarifying the role of contractors and subcontractors
Recent changes to labour laws in the Philippines attempt to clarify the status of contractors and subcontractors in certain industries ...
Fake news and its web of legal issues in the post-truth era
Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016 is “post-truth” — an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. ...
Dollar-denominated securities in relation to Corporation Code’s provisions on capital
The Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) issued rules on December 2, 2016 governing the listing, trading and settlement of US dollar-denominated securities (DDS)....
Cyber bullying in the Philippines
The pen is mightier than the sword or so the adage goes. When this was once said, it was to highlight the power of thoughts and ideas over brute force and violence as a way to effect change. Today, the ...
Uber/GrabCar drivers: Independent contractors or employees?
The buzz about the legality of Uber and GrabCar operating in the Philippines might have died down, but now there is another legal issue surrounding them: whether their drivers are employees or ...
Price fixing in the context of the Philippine Competition Act
In light of the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) in 2015, competitors, manufacturers, retailers and sellers or suppliers, in general, should be ...
Implementation of the data privacy act in Philippines now in full swing
Since 2012, the Philippines has had a comprehensive law governing personal data privacy. However, full implementation ...
Taxability of service fees received by non-resident foreign companies from online advertising in the Philippines
The use of the internet for the promotion of goods and services, particularly social media (Facebook, Twitter and ...
Levelling the playing field in the Philippines
Before the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act in 2015, the Philippines was the only founding member of Asean that did not have a comprehensive competition law in place. Francisco Ed Lim, Patricia-Ann T Prodigalidad, Eric R Recalde of <...
Age discrimination in the workplace
Republic Act No. 10911 (also known as the ‘Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act’) lapsed into law on 21 July ...
Green jobs: greening the Philippine labour sector
With the threat of climate change, the international community created the Paris Agreement which aims to stop global warming and preserve ...
Interplay of domestic law on compulsory licensing and international agreements on medicine prices
The price of pharmaceutical products in the Philippines appears to be on the high side compared to that in other Asian ...
Restrictive covenants in employment contracts
One of the means of keeping afloat in today’s competitive market is to hire employees who are ‘fit’ for a particular job. However, before employers ...
Make our system work: litigation practice expedited
The perception that litigation is a slow and arduous process has drawn many of us closer to the idea of alternative modes of dispute resolution. ...
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 18-A: The Rules and Regulations on Contracting
On December 4, 2011, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 18-A (D.O. 18-A), the new Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 ...
An overview of Philippine Data Privacy Law
Republic Act No. 10173, or the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA10173), was signed into law on August 15, 2012. This is the ...
New competition law for the Philippines
The Philippine Competition Act (PCA) went into effect on August 5, 2015. The law applies not only to acts committed in the Philippines but ...
Related Articles
New challenges for investors in the US – CFIUS
It would be a mistake to underestimate the growing power of CFIUS to regulate foreign investors in US companies.
New transparency registry for all private BC companies in the offing
If the bill comes into force it will have far reaching compliance consequences for all private BC companies.
Doing business and ease of doing business in India
The government has taken numerous steps to give an impetus to foreign investment, but a lot remains to be done.
Related Articles by Jurisdiction
Revisiting the AMLA in light of transnational money laundering
For several decades, money laundering has extended the reach of transnational organised crime throughout various nations ...
Taxability of service fees received by non-resident foreign companies from online advertising in the Philippines
The use of the internet for the promotion of goods and services, particularly social media (Facebook, Twitter and ...
Restrictive covenants in employment contracts
One of the means of keeping afloat in today’s competitive market is to hire employees who are ‘fit’ for a particular job. However, before employers ...
Latest Articles
Press Release: New Bilingual Standard Templates for China’s New Foreign Investment Regime
Top multinational and China SOE in-house lawyers and heavyweight Chinese and international law firms join forces with legaltech start-up docQbot and The In-House Community™ to help create new bilingual standard templates for China’s new foreign investment regime ...
New challenges for investors in the US – CFIUS
It would be a mistake to underestimate the growing power of CFIUS to regulate foreign investors in US companies.
New transparency registry for all private BC companies in the offing
If the bill comes into force it will have far reaching compliance consequences for all private BC companies.