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SEC suspends penalties

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THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) is suspending cumulative penalties on companies for the period of the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon.

In a notice on its website, the corporate regulator said it will not be counting penalties that account for the period from March 13 until the lifting of the quarantine, which is originally set on April 13.

This covers investment companies, issuers of proprietary and non-proprietary shares/timeshares, public companies, lending companies, financing companies, foundations, accredited microfinance non-government organizations and publicly-listed companies.

The SEC said the decision aims to help companies “cope with the impact and challenges brought about by the [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)] and in view of the resulting work suspension at the commission and the subsequent imposition of the enhanced community quarantine…”

It noted the cumulative penalties will start accruing again once the enhanced community quarantine is lifted as ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The island of Luzon has been put under enhanced community quarantine for a month to help contain the spread of COVID-19. During the period, the public is ordered to follow strict home quarantine with the exemption of some “essential” offices and personnel.

The SEC has been easing some of its rules as pandemic prompted many companies to suspend their operations. It earlier encouraged the public to make use of its digital platform for corporate registration while its physical office is closed due to the Luzon quarantine.

The other day, the corporate regulator said it was welcoming applications for registration of corporations and partnerships through its Company Registration System (CRS).

The SEC CRS is a digital platform that allows applicants to give their proposed company name, generate articles of incorporation, bylaws and other company registration documents, and upload all required documents for processing, review and approval through the system.

The SEC said at least 2,500 applications have already been processed since Luzon was put on lockdown mid-March. Of this, 314 were already promoted for the generation of their certificates of registration. Some 1,014 have been assessed for payment while the remaining 1,172 are being asked to submit additional requirements. — Denise A. Valdez

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