Quisumbing Torres (QT) hosted the second Women in Law Session with highlight speaker, Divina Ilas-Panganiban, partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice (IP) Group and co-head in our Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group. Over one hundred delegates were welcomed by QT Employment Practice Group Head Kenneth Chua.

The agenda was divided in three parts:

  • Women in Law Panel Discussion: Gender pay and pay equity
  • Employment Presentation: Philippine Laws on Women: Overview of Evolution of Philippine Laws on Women and Supreme Court Decisions Involving Women in the Workplace
  • Focus Woman in Law Presentation: What’s Next in Data Privacy

IP Practice Group Head Bienvenido Marquez III wrapped-up the day’s discussions while IP Associate Jose Angelo Tiglao served as the master of ceremony. Moderated Q&As were conducted and led by IP Partner Reena Mitra-Ventanilla and Employment Associate Patrick Henry Salazar.

Women in Law Panel Discussion: Gender pay and pay equity

According to a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, the Philippines is the best in the region on gender equality in work. It is the region’s best performer on women’s participation in professional and technical jobs and on leadership positions. But, there are still areas for improvement. The experience of women in the Philippines still depends largely on their socioeconomic status. Lower-income women must still confront considerable gender gaps and less opportunity.

For educated women, there is still opportunity for greater representation and equal pay in professional and technical fields. The talent pipeline also narrows for women, with a drop of over 50% of representation from entry level to senior management.

A panel discussion, moderated by Jen Alava-Francisco of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, discussed this key issue of gender pay and pay equity. Members of the panel were Jazel Anne Calvo-Cariño (Legal Director-Philippines, Sanofi Philippines), Eir Antig (AVP Legal, FWD Life Insurance Corporation), Christina Macasaet-Acaban (Partner, Quisumbing Torres) and Kristine Anne Mercado-Tamayo (Partner, Quisumbing Torres).

The group defined gender pay gap as the average difference in pay between men and women while pay equity relates to the question of whether men and women are paid equally for equal work. It was explained that gender pay gap reflects the average difference between pay for men and women, the most common cause of which is typically lack of representation of women in senior, technical and other highly paid roles.

Each panel member shared their thoughts and personal experience in relation to the subject matter and identified the importance of recognizing and addressing the issue on unconscious bias as an important step in closing the gap. Unconscious bias are learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply engrained within our beliefs, universal, and have the ability to affect our behavior. The group cites that while this unconscious bias may seem innocent, problems can arise when unconscious biases make their way into workplaces.

Employment Presentations

Following the panel discussion, QT Employment Associate Rosalyn Ruth Anuncio presented a comprehensive overview of the evolution of Philippine Laws on Women.

She covered areas on constitutional protections on equality and laws protecting women. QT Employment Partner Eliseo Zuñiga, Jr. provided highlight Supreme Court Cases Involving Women in the Workplace and provided the following takeaways:

  • In sexual harassment or similar cases, credibility of woman's testimony will depend on circumstances.
  • To justify restriction on employee's rights, the employer must show existence of "reasonable business necessity". The court may rule in favor of the employer if it is shown that it validly exercised its prerogatives in good faith.
  • The employer must ensure compliance with procedural due process requirements.

Focus Woman in Law Presentation: What’s Next in Data Privacy

Each Women in Law session serves its dual purpose of (1) building awareness in the movement in support of women in the legal practice, and, (2) providing updates and key trends in a relevant legal development. In this second session, QT Intellectual Property (IP) Partner Divina Ilas-Panganiban along with IP Associate Neonette Pascual provided an in-depth discussion on the next steps in data privacy compliance and data privacy enforcement.

The discussion began with a review of the five pillars of data protection compliance:

  1. Commit to comply: Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  2. Know your risk: Conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment
  3. Be accountable: Create your Privacy Management Program and Privacy Manual
  4. Demonstrate your compliance: Implement your privacy and data protection measures
  5. Be prepared for breach: Regularly exercise your Breach Reporting Procedures

Vina imparted her top four Do’s and Don’ts in security incident and data breach handling:


  1. Do not panic. Know the facts first.
  2. Identify the “Core Team”
  3. Preserve Privilege to the Extent Reasonably Possible
  4. Focus on the Best interest of the Data Subjects


  1. Don’t be too excited to notify.
  2. Don’t ignore outside resources.
  3. Don’t neglect contractual obligations.
  4. Don’t forget to learn from each security / breach incidents.

QT’s Women in Law Series

QT's Women in Law series celebrates the talent, mentorship and passion of the great female lawyers in our firm. The series was launched earlier this year with Corporate & Commercial Practice Group Head Christina Macasaet-Acaban as the first featured woman in law. She presented on the Revised Corporation Code. Read more about the Women in Law series launch event.

Explore More Insight