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Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission Deploys eSPAYSEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has deployed a whole host of digital solutions, tools and platforms to bring the Philippines into the digital era. SEC, an agency under the Department of Finance, is responsible for regulating the securities industry in the Philippines. In addition to its regulatory functions, the SEC also maintains the country’s company register.

By detailing these online tools, SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino showed how digital adoption has helped his agency function better. In essence, these tools helped the organisation serve the Filipino people better.

The commission head mentioned all this in his presentation to Carlos Dominguez III, the Department of Finance Secretary, of the SEC’s accomplishments for last year. The Secretary, for his part, commends these digital initiatives.

I don’t know in the past, but I don’t think this has ever happened in SEC’s history that you have achieved so much in the ease of doing business, so, congratulations.SEC has also contributed in a big way to improving the capital markets, and of course in catching fraudulent transactions.

Carlos Dominguez III, Secretary, Department of Finance

The Securities and Exchange Commission reported that it has collected PHP 119.07 million (US$ 2.26 million) in fees and penalties, or an average of PHP 11.9 million (US$ 226,000 ) per month from March 2021 to January of this year. Specifically, all these transactions were done using eSPAYSEC, its web-based system that allows cashless payment of business registrations, fees and other charges.

Aquino detailed that the fees and other charges collected through its eSPAYSEC involved 16,898 transactions from the time the project was first implemented on 1 March 2021 up to 26 January 2022.

What makes eSPAYSEC special is that people will not have to pay in person to the commission to process payments. They can use the online platform to settle fees, penalties, and other charges using cashless payment methods (e.g., debit and credit cards, digital wallets).

However, there’s more to SEC’s digital transformation journey. Aquino also introduced the Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST), an online tool covers the online submission of company documents:

  • Audited Financial Statement (AFS)
  • General Information Sheet (GIS)
  • Other reportorial requirements of businesses

As per his report, eFAST processed 169,323 enrollments from the time of its launching on 15 March 2021 up to 26 January 2022. That’s a total of 185,127 reports submitted electronically.

In addition, the SEC has deployed another online tool to further ease of doing business in the country –  the Electronic System for Processing and Registration of Companies (eSPARC). This makes it faster and far more convenient for corporations to register. To date, it has processed 48,266 applications from 11  April last year to 26 January 2022.

To compliment this registration portal, the SEC has created a solution that facilitates speedier transactions. The OneSEC is another digitalisation initiative that ensures the one-day submission and electronic registration of companies. OneSEC is a subsystem of eSPARC. To date, the digital tool was able to register 3,288 new corporations from 15 September 2021 to 26 January this year.

All these tools are timely as the nation has ambitions to be a regional digital powerhouse. SEC’s online tools reveal just how much better services can flow when digitisation happens. The Philippines is genuinely making the most of emerging Information and Communications Technology.

Its recent Innovative Cities Initiative to introduce technology into the country’s key cities one city at a time is proof of that. As reported on OpenGov Asia, Makati City is set to transform into the country’s Silicon Valley through the programme.

Even the success of the upcoming elections is dependent on technology. Not only did the country’s FinTech leaders ask for the country’s next leaders to prioritise technology but also, the government itself is working with big tech to collaborate to ensure the national elections are conducted in a most, transparent and informed way.

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