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Agency allots P-2B, initiates moves vs. virus

The Securities and Exchange Commission has transferred P2 billion from its accounts to the Bureau of Treasury to provide assistance to the government in cushioning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative was made as per the Section 4(v) of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and the directive of the Department of Finance.

“A pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill, disrupted businesses and livelihoods, and caused the loss of lives calls for a collective response from all sectors,” SEC Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said.

Aside from the fund, the Commission has been active in its efforts in providing better services especially during this time where there are limitations and disruptions brought by the community quarantine in different areas in the country.

The Commission has been accepting online applications for the registration of corporations and partnerships through the Company Registration System (CRS).

Through this, entities may use the CRS for full automation and online pre-processing of the registration of corporations and partnerships, as well as licensing of foreign corporations.

Applications for monitoring clearance for amendments to the articles of incorporation and bylaws of companies during the enhanced community quarantine and amendments such as change of corporate name, business purpose, or principal office address are also allowed by the Commission.

As of March 16-27, the CRMD was able to process 2,500 applications. Among those, 314 were promoted for the generation of the corresponding certificates of registration, 1,014 were assessed for payment, and 1,172 were required to include additional requirements.

They have also monitored 2,894 corporations since shifting to a work-from-home arrangement, in accordance with the Section 4(t) of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Pending applications for renewal of the accreditation of external auditors and auditing firms are also being processed by the Commission.

Accepting applications for the centralized accreditation of external auditors and auditing firms for entities under its supervision and those regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Insurance Commission have started on April 6 as well.

The deadline of submission for certain reportorial requirements are also extended and alternative modes of filing are provided.

Affected corporations with purely domestic operations now have until June 30 to file their annual report and/or audited financial statements for 2019. Those with foreign operations may submit the requirement until 30 June 2020 or 60 days from the lifting of travel restrictions, whichever comes later.

The deadline of submission of the original notarized printed copy of Mandatory Disclosure Form (MDF) of non-profit organizations (NPO) has also been extended to 30 April 2020, 15 days from the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine.

Other reports such as the General Information Sheet (GIS) may be sent by corporations through email. Those may be accomplished without notarization and using electronic signatures in the meantime.

Reports filed by publicly listed companies through the Philippine Stock Exchange’s Electronic Disclosure Generation Technology will count as submissions to the SEC.

The Commission has also been ardent in promoting investor protection, and they have been monitoring entities that may take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to deceive investors and consumers.

They have caught at least 14 groups engaged in unauthorized investment-taking activities and other fraudulent activities since the declaration of a public health emergency upon confirmation of local transmission of COVID-19 in early March.

“The SEC has moved into position for the country’s fight against COVID-19. Aside from supporting other government agencies on the frontlines, we have worked on buttressing the corporate sector, capital market and investing public, which are crucial in the resilience of our economy and, more importantly, of the Filipino people,” Aquino said.

The SEC also issued guidelines allowing for the attendance and participation of directors/trustees and stockholders/members in regular and special meetings through remote communication.

They have also encouraged all lending and financing companies to extend debt relief to borrowers to help them cope with the financial setback brought by the pandemic.

“The SEC has answered the call and will continue to support the fight against COVID-19,” Aquino said. “From its position–as overseer of the corporate sector, independent guardian of the capital market and champion of investor protection–the SEC recognizes and stands prepared to play its role in cushioning the impact of the pandemic and steering the economy toward recovery.”

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