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The Philippines’ SEC unveils new registration portal

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it will migrate to a new company registration portal called the “electronic simplified processing of applications for registration of company” (eSPARC).

The web-based system will accept new applications for registration of One Person Corporations (OPC), corporations with two to four incorporators, as well as regular domestic and foreign-owned corporations — both stock and non-stock. With eSPARC, the goal is to provide users with a complete, end-to-end company registration system linked to a unified and centralised company information database that will simplify the company registration process while also refining how they process information, said the agency.

eSPARC will replace the interim registration system (IRS), which is currently used for the registration of OPCs and corporations with two to four incorporators, as well as the company registration system (CRS) for the registration of regular domestic and foreign-owned corporations.

Only applications for the registration of partnerships and foreign corporations will be accepted and processed in the CRS once eSPARC goes live. Applications submitted through the CRS before the implementation of eSPARC will still be processed by the system unless applicants are instructed to resubmit their applications through the new portal.

On eSPARC, applicants or their duly appointed representatives may submit their proposed company names, input company information, and upload the documentary requirements for review of the commission. The system will also feature a real-time inquiry facility on the status of their applications. The new system will be integrated with the SEC cashiering system and SEC payment portal to provide a faster, seamless, and convenient means to pay registration fees.

Further, eSPARC will be linked to the central business portal, the national government’s centralised platform that allows the public to access registration forms, fill out the information, and submit requirements needed for business registration and related transactions.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, in line with the agency’s digital transformation efforts, the SEC said it will also 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 enrol 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.

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 in the country to adopt a zero-contact policy.

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