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SEC extends deadline for reports of companies affected by COVID-19

Corporate regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for submission of annual and quarterly financial reports of companies affected by the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Under a memorandum circular approved last Thursday, March 12, the SEC has imposed a June 30 deadline for COVID-19 affected firms to file their annual reports and financial statements for the period ended December 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the filing period for companies with domestic and foreign operations has been extended until June 30 or 60 days from the date of the lifting of travel restriction by concerned government authorities, whichever comes later.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week ordered a community quarantine on Metro Manila, preventing the entry and exit of non-essential travels to and from the National Capital Region from March 15 to April 14.

"The new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has posed specific challenges to some Philippine companies in complying with certain reportorial requirements," said SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino.

"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," he said.

The SEC said publicly listed companies may request for more time to submit its reports through a written request to the Markets and Securities Regulation Department at least five days before the deadline of filing.

The submission must include a sworn certification signed by the company's president and treasurer to confirm that its financial year ended on December 31, 2019.

It must also include that the company has significant business operations or subsidiaries in China and or other affected territories such as the Philippines.

The SEC said that in the case of a non-publicly listed corporation, the sworn certifications signed by its president and treasurer, and by its external auditor shall be attached to their annual financial statements.

Corporations whose preparation of financial statements or completion of statutory audits are not affected by the COVID-19 outbreak are required to file their annual reports and/or annual financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 within the periods prescribed under existing rules and regulations, it added. — RSJ, GMA News