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Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission further embraces digitalisation

In line with the country’s digital transformation, The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it will soon allow corporations and partnerships to file their audited financial statements (AFS), General Information Sheet (GIS) and other annual reports in digital format and remotely through a newly developed online submission tool (OST). The SEC released the draft memorandum circular providing the schedule and procedure for the online submission of annual reports, as part of efforts to further limit face-to-face interactions, automate business transactions and promote sustainable business practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SEC will roll out the OST in time for this year’s filing season. Initially, corporations may use the OST to file their AFS, GIS, Sworn Statement for Foundation (SSF), General Form for Financial Statement (GFFS), and Special Form for Financial Statement (SFFS). The OST will likewise accept submissions of Affidavit of Non-Operation (ANO), together with their GIS or AFS, and Affidavit of Non-Holding of Annual Meeting (ANHAM), together with the GIS, during the initial implementation.

To use the OST, corporations, partnerships, and their authorised filers are required to enroll in the online submission facility by accomplishing the online application form and submitting the required documents. The SEC will require a corporation or partnership enrolling in the OST to submit a board resolution authorising its representative to file reports on behalf of the corporation or partnership, and a Special Power of Attorney from the authorised filer/representative to file reports for and on behalf of the corporation or partnership.

Also, the corporation or partnership will have to submit a copy of its submission of email addresses and cellular phone numbers or its accomplished GIS using the 2020 version, as required by SEC Memorandum Circular No. 28, Series of 2020. The SEC will also require all stock corporations, including the branch offices, representative offices, regional headquarters and regional operating headquarters of foreign corporations, to submit their reports using the OST starting this year.

Non-stock corporations, meanwhile, will still have the option to submit their reports over the counter this year. By 2022, the SEC will require all non-stock corporations to enrol in and submit their reports through the OST.

Once enrolled, the authorised filer of a corporation or partnership may start submitting reports through the OST. The SEC also said that it will no longer require the submission of the hard copies of the reports and it will no longer accept submissions made through email, mail or courier, and provide drop boxes in its offices once the OST goes live.

The initiative operationalises Section 180 of Republic Act No. 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, which mandates the SEC to develop and implement an electronic filing and monitoring system. It is likewise consistent with Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which requires government agencies to adopt a zero-contact policy.

Accordingly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that the government’s continuous digital transformation is vital to urgently respond to the multi-sectoral call for enhanced public service delivery and improved internet access under the new normal. The agency aims to promote information exchange and to improve the efficiency and accessibility of front-end public services and to boost the overall user experience of the citizens availing of said services.

The need for better E-Governance systems was also emphasised by COVID-19 as the country undertakes measures to eradicate the threats brought by the pandemic. This is also answering the call for swifter government transformation to efficiently address new norm demands.

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