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SEC orders listed firms to disclose COVID-19 impact, mitigation efforts

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Friday it is requiring publicly listed companies to inform the investing public of the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat on their business operations as well as the risk mitigation measures they have undertaken.

In a notice issued March 12, the SEC mandated publicly listed firms to file current reports (SEC Form 17-C) to disclose the risks and impact of the COVID-19.

“The disclosure must be made to the Philippine Stock Exchange through the PSE Electronic Disclosure Generation Technology (EDGE) not later than noon of March 16, 2020,” the corporate regulator said.

“Publicly listed companies must include in their reports all measures they will undertake or have undertaken to mitigate the risks and impact of the COVID-19,” it said.

The SEC made the notice after share prices on the Philippines Stock Exchange’s main index plunged 9.71%, its worst drop in 12 years dragged by concerns over the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration that COVID-19 is now a pandemic. 

“The requirement is pursuant to the state policy to ensure full and fair disclosure about securities and the duty of issuers to report every fact that would reasonably be expected to materially affect the decision of investors to buy, sell or hold securities,” the SEC said.

On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippine government is restricting travel to and from Metro Manila starting March 15 until April 14 as part of community quarantine in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-10.

The Philippines has raised Code Red Sub-Level 2 over the COVID-19 threat.

The Philippines has so far 52 confirmed cases, including five deaths, as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health. — RSJ, GMA News