The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will allow the submission of electronically signed annual financial statements (AFS) by corporations enrolled in the newly launched Online Submission Tool (OST).

This is while Metro Manila and nearby provinces are under enhanced community quarantine.

In a notice, the Commission announced that electronically signed AFS for the period ended December 31, 2020 and for other fiscal years ending this year will be accepted through the OST.

The use of e-signatures shall be allowed for submissions made through the OST starting March 29, when the ECQ period began in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, until further notice. 

All stock corporations are required to file their AFS and other covered reports through the OST. Meanwhile, nonstock corporations have the option to enroll and file reports through the OST until 2022. 

Enrollment in the OST will ensure that the AFS submitted by corporations were duly signed and officially submitted to the Commission by their authorized filers.

Nonetheless, the SEC requires the management and external auditors of corporations to ensure that the manually signed AFS will be available upon directive by the Commission, pursuant to the exercise of its supervisory and investigative authority and visitorial power under the Securities Regulation Code and Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines.

Corporations that encounter errors in the enrollment or submission process through the OST may physically file their report by securing an appointment through the SEC Express Appointment System. In such cases, corporations would have to submit manually signed reports. 

All stock corporations with fiscal year ending December 31,including branch offices, representative offices, regional headquarters and regional operating headquarters of foreign corporations, shall enroll and file their AFS through the OST based on the last numerical digit of their SEC registration or license number.

Corporations also have the option to file ahead of the prescribed filing dates through the OST. 

Those whose fiscal year ends on a date other than December 31 should file their AFS within 120 days from the end of their fiscal year, while publicly listed companies and other issuers of securities should file their AFS within 105 days after the end of their fiscal years. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (