The vision of the IBP that paved the way for the creation of PICCR
Republic Act No. 9285, also known as “The Alternative Dispute Resolution Act ("ADR Act") of 2004”, was a significant piece of legislation because it was, at the time of its passage, the most comprehensive Philippine law on alternative dispute resolution ("ADR"). The ADR Act introduced the concept of international commercial arbitration and adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law as the law governing international commercial arbitration in the Philippines. It also provided the enabling legislation for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in the Philippines. With respect to domestic arbitration, the ADR Act amended the Arbitration Law, or Republic Act No. 876, to update its provisions so as to be more consistent with prevailing international practices in arbitration.
Arbitration has a number of advantages. Among these are: (a) speed, because arbitration proceedings are generally faster than court litigation; (b) cost-efficiency, because there are ways to manage the cost of the arbitration proceedings; (c) flexibility, because parties are generally able to direct how the proceedings should be conducted; (d) ability of parties to participate in the choice of arbitrator; (e) finality, because arbitral awards are generally not appealable on the merits; (f) confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings; and (g) enforceability of the arbitral award.
Indeed, over the last several years, interest in arbitration has been increasing. More and more parties to commercial transactions are incorporating arbitration clauses into their contracts, memberships in arbitration organizations continue to grow, and a number of arbitration institutions are being set up. Arbitral institutions have regularly updated their rules to keep up with developments in international arbitration.
Mindful of the untapped potential of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms, as well as of its fundamental mandate to elevate the standards of the legal profession and to improve the administration of justice in the country, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines ("IBP") took up the challenge of finding a way to promote the use of arbitration and ADR and make it a more acceptable dispute resolution mechanism in the Philippines.
Traditionally, the IBP has been fulfilling this mandate through, among others, holding training seminars and other projects on special legal topics, releasing statements on legal controversies or issues affecting the public and the legal profession, and the provision of legal aid assistance or services to qualified recipients nationwide. In particular, the IBP's National Center for Legal Aid ("NCLA") monitors the legal aid programs of all IBP chapters, handles legal aid cases or refers the same to particular chapters, and generally ensures that legal aid services are available throughout the country through its 85 chapters scattered across 9 regions.
The IBP also fulfills its mandate in part by actively promoting the use of alternative modes of dispute resolution such as arbitration. The IBP recognizes that the widespread use of arbitration as an alternative to traditional litigation before courts will significantly contribute to (a) the efficient and amicable resolution of disputes between parties; (b) the much needed decongestion of the court system; and (c) ultimately, the improved and more effective administration of justice.
Thus, the IBP has realized that its nationwide network can be further maximized by enabling it to provide efficient and effective dispute resolution services with the help of its various regions and chapters. When parties submit their disputes to arbitration, the arbitration filings can be made and the arbitration proceedings commenced, conducted and completed, in the same town or province where they reside or have their places of business. If the parties reside or have their places of business in different geographic locations, they would have the ability to choose a location or venue that is accessible, convenient or acceptable to them. While one of the advantages of arbitration is that it can be conducted anywhere, the availability of physical facilities and a competent secretariat to assist the parties is nevertheless very much desirable.
Likewise, mindful of its fundamental mandate to elevate the standards of the legal profession and to improve the administration of justice in the country, and realizing that its nationwide network can be further maximized for purposes of providing efficient and effective dispute resolution services with the help of its various regions and chapters, the 23rd IBP Board of Governors established the PICCR, a non-stock, non-profit arbitral institution that will provide commercial arbitration and other ADR services and facilities for parties to disputes, and create opportunities for professional training, development, and accreditation for advocates and practitioners. By establishing the PICCR, the IBP hopes to make arbitration a mainstream option for dispute resolution, make it more accessible, and realize the potentials of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms in the Philippines.
In line with the vision of the IBP, the PICCR will promote the use of arbitration by providing arbitration-related facilities, administrative, and case-management services at par with those of international arbitral institutions, as well as high-quality education and training for interested arbitrators and intensive promotional and marketing events, particularly during IBP events.
Arbitration-related facilities, administrative and case management services. The PICCR will administer arbitrations and other modes of dispute resolution in order to resolve and settle disputes, whether international or domestic, between parties, whether foreign or local. As an arbitration and ADR center, it will strive to make arbitration and ADR a mainstream option for dispute resolution and seek to ensure that cost-effective and efficient commercial arbitration and other ADR services are available to parties who find themselves involved in a dispute. With this objective, the PICCR will utilize the IBP’s nationwide network to make arbitration and other ADR mechanisms more accessible in the Philippines and through which the IBP also hopes to offer and make available cost-effective and efficient commercial arbitration and other ADR services to parties who find themselves involved in a dispute.
To achieve its goals, the PICCR has formulated a set of arbitration rules that incorporates the best practices of international commercial arbitration, as developed by world-renowned institutions, and include provisions on Multiple Parties, Multiple Contracts, Joinder, Consolidation, Early Dismissal, Emergency Arbitration, and Expedited Procedure. It also has formulated a set of guidelines on and schedule of arbitrators’ fees, including the center’s administrative fees.
In addition to the facilities of the IBP's regions and chapters, the PICCR will have its headquarters at the IBP main office in Ortigas, Metro Manila. The PICCR is envisioned to have several hearing and breakout rooms available to parties. The hearing rooms vary in sizes. It will have quality IT equipment that are necessary for the efficient conduct of arbitral proceedings.
Education and Training. The PICCR will provide intensive training courses for interested arbitration and ADR practitioners with the objective of making the Philippines a competitive hub for arbitration and ADR in the region. It will conduct workshops and assessment exercises for those who wish to be trained in arbitration and ADR. The center is in its early stage of selecting qualified individuals to join a panel of trainers for its courses.
In line with this, the PICCR will hold Accreditation Course consisting of 3 Modules, as follows: (a) Module 1 on Fundamentals of Commercial Arbitration; (b) Module 2 on the PICCR Arbitration Rules; and (c) Module 3 on Writing Arbitral Awards. Participants will undergo assessment during each of these modules and for the purpose of qualifying them for the ensuing, subsequent modules. The PICCR's Accreditation Course seeks to ensure that accredited arbitrators will have the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to be effective and proficient arbitrators and/or ADR practitioners.
Promotion of Arbitration and ADR. The PICCR will vigorously promote the use of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms and the use of its services and facilities. For this purpose, the PICCR will regularly collaborate with and participate in IBP activities and events as well as tap the IBP’s resources and network nationwide to promote or facilitate the use of arbitration and other modes of alternative dispute resolution.
To contribute significantly to the improvement of the administration of justice by promoting the use of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution so as to make them the preferred modes of resolving disputes and To contribute significantly to the improvement of the administration of justice by promoting the use of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution so as to make them the preferred modes of resolving disputes and to make the Philippines a preferred seat and venue for dispute resolution.
To promote the use of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution by providing facilities and administrative and dispute-management services at par with those of international arbitral institutions.
To raise awareness of the benefits of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution throughout the Philippines by regularly collaborating with and tapping the nationwide network and resources of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
To provide intensive and effective training for interested arbitration and alternative dispute resolution practitioners with a view to building the Philippines' capabilities in providing arbitration and alternative dispute resolution services.
The centerpiece of the PICCR logo is the pen. This represents the “power of the pen”, the power of reason and the availability of alternative and amicable means to resolves disputes. The color gray, the color of the pen, symbolizes impartiality and independence. These are, after all, the very foundation of modern-day alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as arbitration.
The two circles resting on two triangles at the left and right edges of the pen tip symbolize the parties to the dispute, while the bigger gray circle on top of the pen tip stands for the arbitrator or neutral, who will resolve or facilitate the resolution of the dispute, impartially and independently, based on reason and the principles of justice.
The world map inside the oval, showing parts of the world including the Philippines, represents the domestic and international thrusts of PICCR. It expresses PICCR’s long-term aspiration to make the Philippines a competitive hub for ADR in the region and worldwide.
The oval shape and purple color that circumscribe the centerpiece and contain the full name of PICCR represent the relationship between the PICCR and the IBP, and the guidance provided and the vision of the IBP that paved the way for the setting up of PICCR. A reminder that, as the IBP was mindful of the potential of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms, as well as of its fundamental mandate to elevate the standards of the legal profession and to improve the administration of justice in the country, so should PICCR be so mindful as it carries out its undertakings as the Philippine international center for conflict resolution.