DAVAO CITY — The impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on businesses may be obvious, but some entities under the area of responsibility of the Securities and Exchange Commission-Davao Extension Office (SEC-DEO) are still optimistic they can wade through the challenges created by the pandemic.
Compared with 2019, the number of license or permit applications and renewals that the SEC-DEO processed in 2020 decreased by 29.22%.
“The number may not be what was expected, but it was quite high if we take note of the challenges that the business sector has endured since the end of the first quarter when the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in our area of responsibility,” the office said, citing the loss of revenues due to the restrictions that the national government and the local government units have put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Another indicator of the impact of the pandemic on businesses was in the number of applicants for stock corporation which decreased by 15.6%, and the number of applications for non-stock corporation which decreased by 10.73%. Applications for partnership also went down by 36.44%, while the number of applications for foundation processed decreased by 21.43%.
However, optimism was not lost as more financing institutions applied for licenses to set up their branches in SEC-DEO. Despite the pandemic, the number of processed applications for licenses as branch offices of financing companies increased by 66.67% this year, although the number of processed applications for licenses as branch offices of lending companies decreased by 68.18%.
Because of the slowdown in the business sector, the Commission devoted much of its efforts in investigating suspicious entities to prevent them from taking advantage of the public. From 50 in 2019, the SEC issued 126 advisories last year, or an increase of 152%. It also issued nine cease and desist orders last year.
To intensify its information campaign even during the pandemic, the office also tapped technology, through webinars, to reach out to and educate the public on its company registration system, reportorial requirements, investor protection, and its new rules and regulations.
Despite the indicators and the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the extension office maintained that next year will become a banner year.
With the vaccine soon available, the extension office is positive about a rebound next year.
“As they say, if you hit rock bottom, there is no other way but up,” it added.