March 12, 2020 – The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) both announced measures and response plan in light of the Coronavirus outbreak which the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared as a pandemic.
State of Public Health Emergency
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In a press release, the SEC said it will soon issue memorandum circulars to help companies cope with and mitigate effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, the Commission is finalizing measures that will allow the use of remote communication in regular and special meetings and extend the filing period of annual reports for affected corporations.
This is in line with the national government’s declaration of a state of public health emergency. SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said the Commission “will explore and implement all appropriate measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects.”
Regular and Special Meetings
Pursuant to Republic Act No. 11232 or the Revised Corporation Corde, SEC will issue a specific memorandum circular concerning the attendance of key corporation officers (like directors, trustees, stockholders, etc) in regular and special meetings through remote communication. Once approved, corporations can conduct such meetings through remote communication or other modes they consider. SEC is already doing remote communication, allowing the participation of its directors at SEC extension offices like in Baguio, Tarlac, Cebu, and Zamboanga.
Submission of Reports
SEC is also going to issue a memorandum circular which will give companies more time to submit their annual reports and annual financial statements. This will allow affected companies to also contain the COVID-19 outbreak and have enough time to gather all documents necessary to prepare the reports. The Commission encourages corporations to utilize the SEC Express Nationwide Submission to submit their annual reports.
In a memorandum, the BSP said it expects all its Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFis) and Operators of Payment Systems (OPS) to adopt and implement an appropriate response to ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers while stile delivering continued financial services to the public.
BSP said there must be alternate work arrangements and remote access capabilities so long as they are deemed practicable and necessary by those institutions. BSP also expects them to implement clear communication protocols that will cover all relevant internal and external protocols.
Lastly, BSFIs and OPS should ensure that their personnel are properly guided on limiting or reducing the risk of being affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.
This article is published on BitPinas: PH SEC, BSP Issue Measures and Response Plan to Cope with COVID-19 Outbreak