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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           8 July 2011

Philippines corporate governance is weak

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Philippines listed companies are merely complying with the requirement of the Securities and Exchange Commission on the minimum number of independent directors, a study released Thursday said.

In 2009, only six of the top 100 publicly listed firms had four or more independent directors. This was lower than the 10 companies in 2008, according to the Ramon del Rosario Sr.-C.V. Starr Center for Corporate Governance of the Asian Institute of Management.

"While the number of top 100 companies complying with the SEC requirement of at least two independent directors continues to increase, not many are going beyond this minimum requirement," the study said.

In the Netherlands, all members of the board of directors except for one are independent directors, compared to about half of the board in the United States, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Brazil and Canada.

From 2008 to 2009, the number of independent directors holding eight to 10 board sears in for-profit Philippine firms rose to 24 from nine, and the number of directors holding 17 or more board seats increased to 14 from five.

Teresita Herbosa, Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson, said the agency is requesting the Department of Budeget and Management to increase its budget so it can efficiently perform its responsibilities.

"Because the jurisdiction of the SEC over intra-corporate controversies and other adversarial issues was transferred to the [regional trial court], the logical solution was to make it leaner in terms of personnel," said Herbosa.

"Even if that is taken out, there's still a lot of things we have to enforce. We are at the stage where we have proposed to the DBM to increase our budget to be able to hire more people and to get the latest technology systems to help us process and monitor what we're supposed to do," she added.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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