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Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: Legislation

Types of Legislation

Since 1900, statutes have been enacted with the following titles:   

  •  Acts  - from 1900-1935 (4,275 Acts)
  • Commonwealth Acts - from 1935-1945 (733 Acts)
  • Republic Acts - from 1946-1972
  • Batas Pambansa – from 1979-1985 (884 Acts)
  • Republic Acts - from 1987- current

During Martial Law, both President Marcos and the Batasang Pambansa (Parliament) issued laws at the same time - there were 2034 Presidential Decrees by President Marcos (1972-1985) and 884 Batas Pambansa by the Philippine Parliament. 

In addition, the Philippines also has approximately 27 Codes in force - these are either enacted as legislation or issued by Executive Order or Presidential Decree. The Codes are:   

  • Administrative Code of 1987 ( Executive Order No. 292)
  • Child and Youth Welfare Code (Pres. Decree No. 603)
  • Civil Code (Rep. Act No. 386)
  • Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Code
  • Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Rep. Act No. 6713)
  • Cooperative Code (Rep. Act No. 9520)
  • Corporation Code (Batas Blg. 68)
  • Family Code (Executive Order No. 209)
  • Fire Code      (Rep. Act No. 9514)
  • Fisheries Code (Rep. Act No. 8550)
  • Forest Reform Code (Pres. Decree No. 705)
  • Insurance Code (Pres. Decree No. 1460)
  • Intellectual Property Code (Rep. Act No. 8293)
  • Labor Code (Pres. Decree No. 442)
  • Land Transportation and  Traffic Code (Rep. Act No. 4136)
  • Local Government Code (Rep. Act No. 7160)
  • Muslim Code of Personal Laws ( Pres. Decree No. 1083)
  • National Building Code (Pres. Decree No. 1096)
  • National Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and Supplements (Executive Order No. 51 s. 1986)
  • National Internal Revenue Code (Pres. Decree No. 1158)
  • Omnibus Election Code (Batas Blg 881)
  • Philippine Environment Code (Pres. Decree No. 1152)
  • Revised Penal Code (Act no. 3815)
  • Sanitation Code (Pres. Decree No. 856)
  • State Auditing Code
  • Tariff and Customs Code (Pres. Decree No. 1464)
  • Water Code (Pres. Decree No. 1067)

Finding Philippines Legislation

Statutes are available online on:

CD Asia Online (UniMelb staff & student access) - all Acts, Commonwealth Acts, Batas Pambansa, Republic Acts. Also included are Spanish Era Codes (the Civil Code of 1889, Penal Code and the Code of Commerce), Presidential Issuances, Implementing Rules and Regulations (arranged alphabetically by topic) and Other Rules and Procedures (arranged alphabetically by topic).

  • Log in via catalogue to get a password to access this database. Select 'Laws'. Legislation can be searched or browsed.  

The LAWPHiL Project: Arellano Law Foundation - (open access) includes all Acts, Commonwealth Acts, Batas Pambansa, Republic Acts, and Presidential Decrees. The Republic Acts are not as up to date as those on CD Asia or the Official Gazette. This database also includes Executive Issuances, including Presidential Issuances and Constitutional Commissions.

The Official Gazette - (open access) very recent Republic Acts - more recent than the above two databases. The Online version of the Gazette is supposed to include Acts from 2010 to current, but finding Acts any older than the current year is problematic.

The House of Representatives website includes Republic Acts from the 8th Congress (1987-1992) to current. These are PDFs of the official printed Acts.

The ‚ÄčForeign Law Guide - Philippines (UniMelb staff & student access) provides access to legislation on many legal subjects -arranged alphabetically by topic. Links are provided to the full text on open access databases. It also contains bibliographies of useful secondary sources (books and articles) on these topics.

Making Legislation

Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Congress of the Philippines, which comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislature promulgates statutes. 

A brief history of the Philippine legislature is available at the House of Representative website

A useful explanation of the Legislative Process: How a Bill becomes a Law, is available on the House of Representatives website.

Bills and Resolutions

The House of Representatives website includes:

  • Full text House Bills and Resolutions and their status - can be browsed by Congress (from the 13th Congress to the current Congress).
  • The LEGIS database - a search engine which allows you to search for Bills and Resolutions by Bill number, author, status, Committee referral, and subject matter of the Bill - from the 8th Congress (1987-1992) to the current Congress.
  • The House of Representatives Journal contains the daily proceedings - including Bills Readings and Debates - from the 12th Congress (2003-2004) to the current Congress.

The Senate website includes: