SEC relaxes rules on reports submission
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the corporate regulator, has relaxed its rules on submission of quarterly and annual reports in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, giving companies more time to comply.

SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 has posed specific challenges to some Philippine companies in complying with certain reportorial requirements.

Thus, he said, the SEC made some adjustments.

Under a new memorandum circular approved on March 12, affected corporations with domestic operations only may file until June 30 their annual reports and annual financial statements for the period ended Dec. 31, 2019.

Under existing rules, companies have until April or May, depending on the last numerical digit of their registrations, to submit their reports.

For companies with domestic and foreign operations, the filing period is extended until June 30 or 60 days from the date of lifting of travel restrictions by concerned government authorities, whichever comes later.  

The filing period for the quarterly reports of publicly listed companies and registered issuers of securities for 2020 will likely adjust accordingly.

“For one, the travel restrictions, suspension of business operations and other measures implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 have kept companies, particularly those with operations in China and other affected territories, from gathering all information or documents necessary in the preparation and the subsequent audit of their annual financial statements,” the SEC said. 

A publicly listed corporation which needs more time to submit its reports may submit a written request from the commission through the Markets and Securities Regulation Department at least five days before the filing deadline.

In the case of a non-publicly listed corporation, the written request shall likewise include sworn certifications signed by its president and treasurer, and by its external auditor. 

The company shall also submit a sworn certification by its external auditor confirming its operations in China and/or other affected territories as well as the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the auditing of its financial statements.

“Given the impact of the delayed release of the annual reports, the corporation shall also submit to the SEC an indicative date for its annual stockholders’ meeting,” the SEC said. 

Moving forward, the SEC will continuously assess the impact of COVID-19 on the preparation of financial statements and on the completion of the statutory audits of companies. It may issue appropriate rules and regulations to address the concerns that may further arise.

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