THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning to relax regulatory policies for corporations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a statement Wednesday, the country’s corporate regulator said it is finalizing two memorandum circulars that would allow remote communication for meetings and extend the deadline for filing annual reports.
“The SEC will issue a memorandum circular to provide guidelines on the attendance and participation of directors, trustees, stockholders, members and other officers of corporations in regular and special meetings through remote communication,” it said.
“(It) is likewise set to issue a memorandum circular giving all affected companies more time to submit their annual reports (SEC Form 17-A), including annual financial statements, for the period ended December 31, 2019, as well as quarterly reports (SE Form 17-Q) for the first three months of 2020 for publicly listed companies,” it added.
This comes after the bourse operator Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. advised shareholders of publicly listed firms on Tuesday to explore remote participation in annual stockholder meetings scheduled in the coming weeks.
“In line with the President’s declaration of a state of public health emergency, the Commission will explore and implement all appropriate measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino was quoted as saying in the statement.
The SEC said it has started doing meetings remotely to explore the possibilities that companies may implement to address the threat of COVID-19.
The extended period for submitting regulatory filings will likewise accommodate companies that are affected by travel restrictions and work suspensions.
Until the circulars are out, the regulator said companies may use the SEC Express Nationwide Submission to file annual reports via courier. Copies of the filings may be obtained by the public by requesting through www.secexpress.ph or calling (02) 8737-8888.
As of writing, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines stood at 33, some of which were results of local transmission of the virus.
The Department of Health advised the public to avoid going to public places and attending mass gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. — Denise A. Valdez