Contributor: Tan Hassani and Counsels
Author: Kerwin K. Tan and Eugene T. Kaw
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in Philippines? Does Philippines use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
None as of this date.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in Philippines? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.
It might be possible that the Aviation Authority uses some type of electronic register, but it is not publicly available and would not be accessible to the general public (it would likely be an intranet that is only available and accessible to the regulators).
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in Philippines?
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in Philippines?
None as of this date.
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of Philippines?
Currently, and as of this date, the Philippine judiciary and administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial power do not have electronic platforms where lawsuits, pleadings, and documents can be uploaded. However, for documents bound for the Philippine Supreme Court (the High Court), electronic copies of all papers and annexes must be submitted via electronic email within 24 hours from the filing of the physical hard copies, which would still have to be filed via personally, via registered mail, or through an accredited courier, both of which electronic and filed copies must be the exact copies.
Generally, therefore, while some pleadings in judicial actions can be sent by email to the Philippine Supreme Court with the scanned signed document attached, the actual physical wet- signed documents are still customarily filed with respect to other judicial bodies and courts. This is also true for the Aviation Authority and for other administrative agencies.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in Philippines? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of Philippines (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
Generally, while some pleadings in judicial actions can be sent by email with the scanned signed document attached, the physical wet-signed documents are still customarily filed with the relevant office and courts. This is also true for the Aviation Authority. For digital signatures, these are more recognized and accepted in the executive department, through the various administrative agencies, rather than the judiciary. Whenever accepted, there is a distinction made between official and private digital signatures. There is likewise no specific certification or authentication form or requirement from judicial courts and administrative bodies. Thus, they remain validly submitted and filed unless otherwise challenged.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
In 2001, the Electronic Commerce Act came into force and aimed to facilitate international transactions, contracts, and exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic medium, as well as the technology to recognize the authenticity of electronic documents related to such transactions. This Act officially and legally initiated the recognition of electronic signatures and digital signatures.
In response to the Electronic Commerce Act, the High Court of the Philippines issued the electronic evidence rules. It is now recognized that electronic documents are the functional equivalents of paper-based documents such that whenever a rule of evidence refers to the term writing or document, such term shall be deemed to include an electronic document. As such, an electronic document is admissible in evidence if it complies with the rules on admissibility and can be authenticated in the manner prescribed by the rules on electronic evidence.
As to using digital signatures on electronic documents, while there is no formality requirement on how it is affixed to the electronic document, the important aspect of digital signatures is the authentication process required to be done under the rules on electronic evidence.
A “digital signature” refers to, and must comply with the definition as, an electronic signature consisting of a transformation of an electronic document or an electronic data message using an asymmetric or public cryptosystem such that a person having the initial untransformed electronic document and the signer’s public key can accurately determine: i) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer’s public key; and ii) whether the initial electronic document had been altered after the transformation was made.
The rules provide for authentication of both the electronic document and the electronic or digital signature.
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of Philippines made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
No. Any document signed outside the Philippines for filing at the Aviation Authority would require such document to be either apostilled or consularized at the Philippine Consulate.
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in Philippines (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
No, as of this date.
11. Does the civil aviation authority in Philippines authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has Philippines entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
Yes. Any document signed outside the Philippines for filing at the Aviation Authority would require such document to be either apostilled or consularized at the Philippine Consulate. If the document is electronically executed outside of the Philippines, so long as the Aviation Authority receives the original apostilled (or consularized) document, it will accept such document.
However, we note that there is a difference between the apostille and the consularization process. In order to apostille, the local laws of the country where the document is to be executed govern the formalities of the apostille. Therefore, if the local laws allow the electronic execution of a document and its eventual apostille, so long as the Aviation Authority receives the original apostilled documents, it will accept such documents.
For consularization, the Philippine Consulate, where located, would have its own rules for consularization (signing formalities). Generally, the consularization process requires that the document be wet signed in front of the consular officer. Therefore, electronic execution for documents to be consularized might not be allowed.
a. Has the Philippines implemented the e-Apostille program?
It is still under consideration to date.