This guide to the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission’s i-Report database originally ran as a sidebar to my collaboration with Karol Ilagan and Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
AS PART of its mandate to supervise and monitor corporate activity in the Philippines, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) maintains the i-Report database, which contains electronic copies of publicly available corporate filings with the agency. The most readily accessible registry of business entities in the Philippines, the database is indispensable for the everyday work of regulators, lenders, and investors—and was a crucial source of data for this story.
But outside a limited circle of researchers, the database has remained largely underused. This may partly have to do with its relative obscurity, or with the content and format of the documents that may seem inscrutable to lay eyes.
Continue reading “The SEC’s i-Report database”
As part of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s special report on Duterte’s China romance, I conducted research into the firms that signed deals during his state visit. What I found was that, among the Philippine parties to these deals include:
• firms with no track record in major infrastructure projects, no recent operating profit, and alarmingly small asset bases;
• firms and personalities that have been implicated in anomalous deals, including Arroyo-era “bridges to nowhere” and the Smokey Mountain Rehabilitation Project; and
• two firms involved in the nickel ore trade with China, one of which had been implicated in smuggling cases at Subic.
How did virtually unknown firms with no track record in bidding for—much less completing—major infrastructure projects, rise to billion-dollar prominence with the change of the administration?
For the firms that have no records with the SEC: if they aren’t registered to do business in the Philippines, how could they be party to billion-dollar deals on our behalf? For freshly-registered firms how were their directors able to both anticipate Duterte’s turn to China, and secure influence with the new government so quickly?
Given the ambitious scope of these projects, can the smaller firms, some of which appear to be seriously undercapitalized, be trusted to deliver on time and within budget? Would any sensible lender take the risk of extending credit to these firms—or will their access to capital depend on intercession from on high?”
Read the full story: Duterte’s China deals, dissected.
Other stories in this series, “Romancing China under DU30”: