SEC highlights need for digitalization of government services

SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino recounts the trials and triumphs of the Commission’s digital transformation journey during the second quarterly meeting of the Philippine Association for Government Administration, Inc. in Davao City on August 30.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shared its digital transformation journey with fellow civil servants during the second quarterly meeting of the Philippine Association for Government Administration, Inc. (PAGBA), as part of its vision to be a role model for the digitalization of government services.

SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino led the line-up of speakers during PAGBA’s week-long seminar in Davao City last August 30, where he emphasized the need for digital transformation to make doing business easier in the Philippines.

“Over the years, we have adopted—and we continue to explore more— innovations in the way we receive, process and approve applications for company registration and corporate filings, as well as in the way we offer our other services to the public,” Mr. Aquino said.

He noted that all these innovations have been largely driven by digitalization, “with the objective of making it easier for everyone to do business in the Philippines—from registering a corporation, to filing an annual report and paying fees.”

The Commission’s digital transformation journey is anchored on Mr. Aquino’s SuperVision 2028, which outlines the chairperson’s plans and programs for the SEC during his term and beyond.

At the core of SuperVision 2028 is equipping the SEC with digital technology and adaptive registration and data management systems in order to empower the business sector toward becoming among the best in Southeast Asia.

As such, the SEC is focused on digitalizing and streamlining its internal systems and direct interfaces with the transacting public, and strengthening digital external links with partner agencies and the private sector.

“Our digital transformation has been calibrated and tempered to the requirements of the transacting public and stakeholders…We need to adjust to our customers,” Mr. Aquino said.

Digital services

With this, the SEC has launched a total of nine digital systems that have made its services more accessible to the public.

From 2020 to 2022, the SEC successfully brought its core initiatives online, primarily the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Companies (eSPARC), and its subsystem, the One Day Submission and Electronic Registration of Companies (OneSEC).

The launch of eSPARC led to a 53.2% increase in the number of new business registrations in 2021, despite the pandemic. The SEC also saw a record time of one minute and 14 seconds for company registration under OneSEC.

The SEC made payments easier through the Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC), where the transacting public can now choose from over 1,000 online and offline payment options nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Commission facilitated compliance with reportorial requirements through the Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST).

In 2023, the SEC further deepened its digitalization efforts with five new advanced systems, namely: the Electronic SEC Universal Registration Environment (eSECURE), SEC CheckApp 2.0, Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, Research Computing Hub (eSEARCH), SEC API Marketplace, and the Electronic Registration Application for Market Participants (eRAMP).

eSECURE is a company’s passport to the online services of the SEC, allowing users to manage their SEC accounts and online transactions in one place, while ensuring safe and secure transactions.

The SEC Check App is the official mobile application of the Commission for public information dissemination and access to online and interactive services.

eSEARCH is the main eCommerce service channel of the Commission for the transacting public’s purchase and download of submitted documents to the SEC, while the SEC API Marketplace enables the SEC to provide company profile information, financial information, and other data to clients and stakeholders through application-to-application communication.

Lastly, eRAMP is an internet-based real time facility that allows capital market participants such to manage their license with the SEC.

Local and international recognitions

The reforms adopted by the SEC helped significantly raise the Philippines’ ranking in the Doing Business 2020 report of the World Bank, to the 95th spot from the 124th in 2019.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. himself cited the Commission’s openness to achieving digital transformation as integral to fostering business formation and for growth, having made it easier for corporations to comply with the requirements and maintain a good standing in the business community.

Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno also commended the Commission’s digital initiatives in contributing to the Marcos administration’s vision of a robust and resilient economy characterized by investment-led growth.

The SEC has also earned recognitions both locally and globally, with Mr. Aquino being named CEO of the Year for the Philippines by the International Data Corporation in 2022, in recognition of the Commission’s digital efforts.

In the same year, the SEC brought home the ISAR Honours from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for promoting sustainability and sustainable development goals reporting in the Philippines, the same award it received in 2019. Digitalization is in line with the sustainable practices of the SEC.

The SEC also received the Global Good Governance (3G) Award from London-based Cambridge International Financial Advisory in 2021 and 2022, among others.