THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it may extend the filing period for annual reports for affected firms, and to allow remote communication or other alternative modes for firms holding their stockholders’ meeting.
“The disruption, risks and effects of the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, transcend sectors,” SEC Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said.
“In line with the President’s declaration of a state of public health emergency, the SEC will explore and implement all appropriate measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects,” he said.
According to the plan, the agency 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, pursuant to Republic Act 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code.
Upon approval of the guidelines, the SEC will allow corporations to conduct meetings through remote communication or other alternative modes in order to consider and approve the necessary provisions in their bylaws or internal procedures in time for their forthcoming annual stockholders’ or members’ meetings.
The SEC itself admitted that it has been holding meetings through remote communication, allowing for the participation of the directors of its extension offices in Baguio, Tarlac, Legazpi, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga.
The SEC will also issue a memorandum circular giving all affected companies more time to submit their annual reports, including annual financial statements, for the period ended December 31, 2019, as well as quarterly reports for the first three months of 2020 for publicly listed companies.
According to the rules, the final day of submission of the annual reports and financial statement should be on April 15, or also the last day for the filing of the financial statement at the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Quarterly reports, on the other hand, should be filed 45 days after the last day of the quarter.
The extension will allow companies affected by travel restrictions, suspension of business operations and other measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 outbreak to gather all information or documents necessary in the preparation and the subsequent audit of their reports.
The SEC encourages corporations to utilize SEC Express Nationwide Submission to submit their annual reports through courier.