Outraged by SEC’s plan to impose new and higher transaction fees
As a retired corporate law practitioner, I am outraged by the plan of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to impose new and higher fees and charges on transactions that require its registration or approval.
Has the SEC commissioners forgotten that the SEC is a regulatory office and not a revenue collection agency? It should leave that task to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs.
The new fees and charges can be afforded by the big corporations, like San Miguel Corp. and Manila Electric Co., but not small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who barely profit from their operations. Those fees and charges are an additional burden to SMEs who will be forced to recover them from the people who buy their products and services.
I think the increase in fees and charges is a subtle effort of the SEC to take advantage of Section 175 of the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines which authorizes them to set aside for their use a portion of the fees and charges it collects from businesses.
That virtual slush fund enables them to indirectly increase their salaries and perks and privileges to avoid the scrutiny of the Commission on Audit. I have been informed by reliable sources within the SEC that the commissioners use that fund so they can have additional per diem allowance when they go abroad to attend foreign meetings or conventions.
If they claim that the funds will be used to upgrade the facilities of the SEC, they are joking. Because the SEC only allows digital filing of applications and other transactions, their digital facilities should be efficient. But they are not as it takes months, and sometimes years, before applications filed are reviewed and approved. To expedite transactions in the SEC you have to know somebody there who is high-ranking, otherwise you will have to wait forever for your application to be processed and approved.
I was told that if you avail of the services of some groups that have good connections with the SEC your application will be quickly approved. Of course, you have to pay extra for their services, which means “lagay.”
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno should use his supervisory authority over the SEC to stop the implementation of the outrageous new fees and charges of the SEC.
Also, based on my experience, there is no need to have five SEC commissions, three will be enough because the bulk of the work in the SEC is done in the different departments and all the commissioners do is approve them or make some changes.
The salaries, perks, and privileges of the reduced commissioners should instead go to those hardworking employees of the departments.
Artemio S. Baradian, firstname.lastname@example.org