MANILA - The Supreme Court has raised to P400,000 the cap in the amount that may be filed for small claims in Metropolitan Trial Courts, a move seen to speed up proceedings on minor cash disputes and help improve the business climate in the country.
In a statement, the high court said the limit for small claims cases has been increased from P300,000 to P400,000, expanding the scope of cases that may be resolved in first-level courts.
It is also seen to reduce by about 20 percent the cost for those collecting debt as they would no longer need to hire a lawyer for small claims proceedings.
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, chair of the high court's special committee on small claims cases, said this move "will result in the speedier and more efficient resolution of money claims cases, as well as help increase the country’s score in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report.”
The Philippines had slipped from 113th to 124th out of 190 in this year's World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, where one indicator is the speed in the resolution of commercial disputes.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a message sent to the high court, said “the move initiated by the Supreme Court will benefit small entrepreneurs using the court system and result in an increase in the country’s ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Survey.”
"The SC’s swift action to increase the threshold for small claims in the Metropolitan Trial Courts in Metro Manila will significantly reduce the number of days for trial and judgment under the DB (Doing Business) Enforcing Contracts indicator," he told the high tribunal.
He called the high court reform one initiative to improve the country's business climate and said he hoped to continue working with the judiciary in the areas of court automation and case management.
The rule of procedure for small claims cases was first implemented in 2010, when first-level courts nationwide were authorized to handle disputes involving claims not more than P100,000.
The amount was raised to P200,000 in 2015 and to P300,000 last year.