BSP makes last push for reform measures

With only a few months left in the 18th Congress, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday reiterated its push for pending bills conducive to economic recovery amid the protracted pandemic.

Specifically, the BSP was pushing for the adoption of the following measures: the Law on the Protection of Consumers of Financial Products and Services, the Bill on the Secrecy of Bank Deposits, the Bill on the Regulation of Bank Accounts and electronic wallets, as well as amendments to the Agri-Agra Act and the Philippine Deposits Act. Charter of Insurance Corp. (PDIC), Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

“The BSP’s legislative program aims to strengthen the banking system, foster financial inclusion, improve the provision and address social issues related to access to financial products and services, and support economic growth,” he said. said Diokno.

Diokno told senators this week that the financial consumer protection bill, once passed, will combat the proliferation of frauds and scams, both offline and online.

“The enactment of the Financial Consumer Protection Act aims to provide protective armor to all financial consumers. This will ensure that relevant government institutions and financial regulators are fully empowered with the legal authority to enforce prudent, accountable and customer-centric standards of business conduct,” Diokno said.

Regarding the bank deposit secrecy bill, Diokno said it would equip the BSP with tools to prove fraud, irregularities and other illegal activities among the institutions it oversees, including the investigation of closed banks. “The bill will also enable the BSP to comprehensively review a banking institution to consider all areas of risk when assessing financial condition, risk management and corporate governance. from a bank,” he said.

The Electronic Bank Account and Wallet Regulation Bill, meanwhile, would “protect people from falling prey to various cybercrime schemes,” Diokno said, as it would regulate and prohibit the use of financial accounts for criminal activities. “This will strengthen consumer protection and inspire confidence in the financial system,” he added.

Amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 10000 or the Agri-Agra Act of 2009 were also needed “to enhance rural development and improve the welfare of beneficiaries in farming and rural communities by adopting a holistic approach that takes into account the broader ecosystem of agricultural finance”. and the development requirements of rural communities,” said the head of BSP.

RA 10000 mandated banks to reserve a portion of their total loanable funds for the agricultural sector and land reform beneficiaries. However, compliance had been weak, so the BSP was pushing for other means of compliance, including “green” and sustainable loans or financing, by changing the law.

Amending the PDIC’s charter was also a priority for the BSP so that it could directly oversee the public company.

Diokno also supported pending changes to foreign investment and civil service laws to further liberalize the economy and attract more foreign capital, which President Duterte’s economic officials were pushing for instead of removing restrictions enshrined in the US Constitution. 1987.

“We must not let the COVID-19 pandemic derail our long-term goals. With or without crisis, we should continue to pursue structural reforms that would put the Philippines not just on a pre-crisis growth path, but on a sustainable development path,” according to Diokno.

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