Codification of laws is a common practice in the Philippines. Many general areas of substantive law, such as criminal law, civil law and labor law are governed by codes of law.


Codification is predominant in countries that adhere to the legal system of civil law. Spain, a civil law country, introduced the practice of codification in the Philippines, which it had colonized beginning in the late 16th century. Among the codes that Spain enforced in the Philippines were the Spanish Civil Code and the Penal Code.

The practice of codification was retained during the period of American colonial period, even though the United States was a common law jurisdiction. At the time, many common law principles found their way into the legal system by way of legislation and by judicial pronouncements. Judicial precedents of the Philippine Supreme Court were accepted as binding, a practice more attuned to common law jurisdictions. Eventually, the Philippine legal system emerged in such a way that while the practice of codification remained popular, the courts were not barred from invoking principles developed under the common law,[1] or from employing methods of statutory construction in order to arrive at an interpretation of the codal provisions that would be binding in itself in Philippine law.[1][a]

Beginning in the American period, there was an effort to revise the Spanish codes that had remained in force even after the end of Spanish rule. A new Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930, while a new Civil Code took effect in 1950.

Republic Acts

See also: Republic Acts of the Philippines

Since the formation of local legislative bodies in the Philippines, Philippine legal codes have been enacted by the legislature, in the exercise of its powers of legislation. Since 1946, the laws passed by the Congress, including legal codes, have been titled Republic Acts.[b]

While Philippine legal codes are, strictly speaking, also Republic Acts, they may be differentiated in that the former represents a more comprehensive effort in embodying all aspects of a general area of law into just one legislative act. In contrast, Republic Acts are generally less expansive and more specific in scope. Thus, while the Civil Code seeks to govern all aspects of private law in the Philippines, a Republic Act such as Republic Act No. 9048 would concern itself with a more limited field, as in that case, the correction of entries in the civil registry.

Still, the amendment of Philippine legal codes is accomplished through the passage of Republic Acts. Republic Acts have also been utilized to enact legislation on areas where the legal codes have proven insufficient. For example, while the possession of narcotics had been penalized under the 1930s Revised Penal Code, the wider attention drawn to illegal drugs in the 1960s and the 1970s led to new legislation increasing the penalties for possession and trafficking of narcotics. Instead of enacting amendments to the Revised Penal Code, Congress chose instead to enact a special law, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.


Laws Common name Date enacted Notes
Executive Order No. 292 Administrative Code of 1987
25 Jul 1987

The Administrative Code "incorporates in a unified document the major structural, functional and procedural principles and rules of governance." Its primary function is to prescribe the standards, guidelines and practices within the executive branch of government.

It is the Administrative Code which establishes the various Cabinet departments and offices falling within the executive branch of government, and under the direct control and supervision of the President. The Code also prescribes the administrative procedure undertaken in proceedings before the offices under the executive department.

Originally coming into effect in 1917, the code was revised and amended repeatedly, with the present code being enacted in 1987.

Presidential Decree No. 603 Child and Youth Welfare Code
10 Dec 1974
Republic Act No. 386 Civil Code
18 Jun 1949
The Civil Code governs private law in the Philippines, including obligations and contracts, succession, torts and damages, property. It was enacted in 1950. Book I of the Civil Code, which governed marriage and family law, was supplanted by the Family Code in 1987.[2]
Republic Act No. 6657 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Code
10 Jun 1988
Presidential Decree No. 961 Coconut Industry Code
11 Jun 1978
Spanish Code of Commerce, Extended by Royal Decree Code of Commerce
10 Dec 1888
Republic Act No. 6713 Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees
20 Feb 1989
An act establishing a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees, to uphold the time-honored principle of public office being a public trust, granting incentives and rewards for exemplary service, enumerating prohibited acts and transactions and providing penalties for violations thereof and for other purposes.
Republic Act No. 9520 Cooperative Code
17 Feb 2009
Republic Act 11232 Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
20 Feb 2019
The Corporation Code provides for the rules and regulations in the establishment and operation of stock and non-stock corporations in the Philippines.
Executive Order No. 209 Family Code
6 Jul 1987
Superseded Book I of the Civil Code, which governed marriage and family law.
Republic Act No. 9514 The Revised Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008
19 Dec 2008
Republic Act No. 8550 The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998
25 Feb 1998
Republic Act No. 8491 Flag and Heraldic Code
12 Feb 1998
Republic Act No. 10607 Insurance Code
15 Aug 2013
Republic Act No. 8293 Intellectual Property Code
6 Jun 1997
The Intellectual Property Code governs the protection of intellectual property in the Philippines. Initially, the legal protection of intellectual property was contained in a few provisions in the Civil Code. A growing concern for intellectual property protection led to the passage of more comprehensive special laws until the final codification of intellectual property law through the Code, enacted in 1997.
Presidential Decree No. 442 Labor Code
1 May 1974
The Labor Code, enacted in 1974, governs employment practices and labor relations in the Philippines.
Republic Act No. 4136 Land Transportation and Traffic Code
20 Jun 1964
Republic Act No. 7160 Local Government Code
10 Oct 1991
The Local Government Code, enacted in 1991, establishes the system and powers of the local government in the Philippines: provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. The Local Government Code empowers local governments to enact tax measures, including real property taxes, and assures the local governments a share in the national internal revenue through the Internal Revenue Allotment.
Republic Act No. 9296 Meat Inspection Code
12 May 2004
Presidential Decree No. 1083 Muslim Code of Personal Laws
4 Feb 1977
Presidential Decree No. 1096 National Building Code
19 Feb 1977
Executive Order No. 51 National Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and Supplements
20 Oct 1986
Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 Omnibus Election Code
3 Dec 1985
Executive Order No. 226 Omnibus Investment Code of 1987
16 Jul 1987
Presidential Decree No. 1152 Philippine Environment Code
6 Jun 1977
Republic Act No. 9829 Pre-Need Code of the Philippines
27 Jul 2009
Presidential Decree No. 705 Revised Forestry Code
18 May 1975
Act No. 3815 Revised Penal Code
8 Dec 1930
The Revised Penal Code contains the general penal laws of the Philippines and is one of the major sources of criminal laws in the Philippines. It was enacted in 1930 and has undergone several amendments.
Presidential Decree No. 856 Sanitation Code
23 Dec 1975
Republic Act No. 8799 Securities Regulation Code
19 Jul 2000
The regulation of securities and practices in the stock market governed by the 2000 Securities Regulation Code
Presidential Decree No. 1445 State Auditing Code
11 Jun 1978
Republic Act No. 8424 Tax Code/National Internal Revenue Code
11 Dec 1997
The National Internal Revenue Code is the law establishing the system of national taxation in the Philippines. The most recent extensive revision of the Code occurred in 1997, although the Code was amended in 2005 to expand the coverage and rates of value-added tax.

The taxes imposed by the Code include a graduated income tax on all income earned by natural and juridical persons within the Philippines, a capital gains tax, excise tax on certain products, a Donor's Tax, an estate tax, and a value-added tax on the sale of most goods and services in the Philippines.

Real property taxes are considered as local, rather than national taxes, and are covered instead under the Local Government Code. Tariffs and duties are covered under the Tariff and Customs Code.

Republic Act No. 1937 Tariff and Customs Code
22 Jun 1957
Presidential Decree No. 1067 Water Code
31 Dec 1976

See also


  1. ^ See Sections 8 and 9 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
  2. ^ Also known as Batas Pambansa during the Marcos-era Batasang Pambansa (English: National Legislature)


  1. ^ a b "In Re: Shoop, 21 Phil. 213 (1920)". Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2019.

    We may summarize our conclusions as follows:
    1. The Philippine Islands is an unorganized territory of the United States, under a civil government established by the Congress.
    2. In interpreting and applying the bulk of the written laws of this jurisdiction, and in rendering its decision in cases not covered by the letter of the written law, this court relies upon the theories and precedents of Anglo- American cases, subject to the limited exception of those instances where the remnants of the Spanish written law present well-defined civil law theories and of the few cases where such precedents are inconsistent with local customs and institutions.
    3. The jurisprudence of this jurisdiction is based upon the English Common Law in its present day form of Anglo-American Common Law to an almost exclusive extent.
    4. By virtue of the foregoing, the New York rule, given a reasonable interpretation, permits conferring privileges on attorneys admitted to practice in the Philippine Islands similar to those privileges accorded by the rule of this court.
  2. ^ Family Code of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 209 July 6, 1987.