Metro Manila · Strange Philippine Laws That Are Still Effective Today

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New to the Philippines? You may have already read a number of articles about the tropical paradise but there is a possibility that you haven’t heard of some of the country’s strangest laws.

Just like other countries, the Philippines has a number of laws that will just sound, for a lack of a better term, odd to modern ears. And the most shocking part is, they are still effective to this day.

An election tie will be settled by tossing a coin

In the year 2013, two candidates for mayor for the town of San Teodoro in Oriental Mindoro literally tossed a coin to settle their predicament and this event, possibly due to its arbitrariness, was included in the newsfeed of Time magazine and other international publications.

While this sounds rather strange, the coin toss is sanctioned by Philippine laws

Performing acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful can translate to jail time

Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code states that anyone who “offends feelings of the faithful” shall be punished with jail time or as it says in this Spanish era penal law, “arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correctional in its minimum period”.

This is still effective today so be sure not to engage in religious banter when you’re in the country. Someone just might remember that this law is still in place.

Anti-Pana Law: No To Deadly Arrows

Pana, when translated, means “Arrow”. So yes, you cannot own a deadly pana. At least not without a permit.

Republic Act No. 3553 states, “anyone who possesses a deadly arrow or ‘pana’ without permit from a city, municipal, or municipal district mayor, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than thirty days nor more than six months.”

Foreigners with “loathsome” or dangerous contagious diseases, or those suffering from insanity or epilepsy cannot enter the country

Section 29-A of Commonwealth Act No. 613 denies entry of such individuals. It even prevents individuals who are classified as beggars, vagrants, paupers, and those who practice polygamy from entering the country.

A bill is reportedly being pushed to update this antique immigration law.

No Annoying Folks Allowed

Annoying people can be charged for, wait for it, yes, being annoying.

“Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto mayor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both,” states the second paragraph of Article 287.