The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be limiting the physical operations of its registration department to select services as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic persists.

In a notice on its website, the corporate regulator said it would be accommodating most services related to company applications via e-mail, despite resuming work for its Company Registration and Monitoring Department (CRMD) at the SEC headquarters.

Examples of services to be entertained through e-mail are petitions to lift order of revocation/suspension, submissions of supplemental requirements for registrant corporations, applications for amendment of articles of incorporation, and requests for issuance of certificate of paid up capital.

The physical operations of CRMD will be limited to receiving proof of payment and documents related to the processing of a company’s registration, releasing of certificates of incorporation, releasing of orders such as petitions to lift order of suspension, and registration of stock and transfer/membership book.

“These guidelines and procedures shall take effect immediately and until further notice as the general quarantine situation improves,” the SEC said.

The SEC reopened CRMD for physical operations since the last week of May, but on limited operating hours: Monday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Before reopening parts of its physical office, the regulator has maintained remote operations through the duration of the lockdown to accommodate corporate transactions.

While its CRMD office is back to physical operations, the SEC continues to observe safety protocols such as wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing to protect its personnel from contracting COVID-19.

It has also started requiring companies to submit annual reports, audited financial statements and general information sheets via courier to limit face-to-face interactions.

In a May 11 memorandum circular, the SEC said it is implementing these stringent measures to “provide adequate protection to the frontline service personnel… from undue exposure to the risk of COVID-19.”

Quarantine measures in Metro Manila have eased twice since May to restart the economy despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. The Health department reported 714 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the country’s total to 21,340. The virus has so far killed 994 in the Philippines. — Denise A. Valdez