BSP urges Congress to pass key structural reforms to support post-pandemic recovery

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is calling on the 18th Congress to enact key structural reforms that will support the country’s continued recovery and sustain inclusive growth under the post-pandemic economy.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said, “The BSP’s legislative agenda aims to strengthen the banking system, foster financial inclusion, enhance the delivery of and address social issues related to access to financial products and services, and support economic growth.”

Among these crucial legislative measures are the proposed Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act, the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill, amendments to the Agri-Agra Law, amendments to the charter of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), and the Bank Accounts and E-wallets Regulation Bill.

The proposed Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act, also known as the Financial Consumer Protection (FCP) Act, aims to put in place appropriate measures to consolidate the principles of financial inclusion, financial education, good governance, and effective supervision in one law to protect the interest of financial consumers.

“The enactment of the FCP Act is envisioned to provide an armor of protection to all financial consumers,” the Governor said during a recent Senate hearing. “It will ensure that relevant government institutions and financial regulators will be fully equipped with the legal authority to enforce prudent, responsible, and customer-centric standards of business conduct.”

The BSP also supports the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill, which if passed, will equip it with the necessary tools to prove the commission of fraud, serious irregularity, or unlawful activity, when reasonable ground is found to exist in the exercise of its supervisory powers, as well as in its investigation of closed banks. The bill will also allow the BSP to holistically examine a banking institution to consider all risk areas in assessing a bank’s financial condition, risk management, and corporate governance.

Meanwhile, the bill proposing amendments to the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 aims to strengthen rural development and improve the well-being of agricultural and rural community beneficiaries by taking a holistic approach that considers the broader agricultural financing ecosystem and rural community development requirements.

The BSP also urges the Legislature to prioritize the proposed amendments to the PDIC charter, which would, among others, make the state deposit insurer an attached agency of the BSP instead of the Department of Finance in an effort to promote better policy and program coordination and streamline the regulatory framework in the financial sector.

To protect people from falling prey to various cybercrime schemes, the BSP also supports the legislative measure that will regulate and prohibit the use of bank accounts, e-wallets, and other financial accounts for criminal activities. Should this measure become a law, it will strengthen consumer protection and inspire trust and confidence in the financial system.

Recently, the BSP Governor expressed his support for the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which was signed into law as Republic Act No. 11595 by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2021. The BSP also supports the revisions to the Public Service Act, which still has to go through bicameral proceedings, and the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, which is awaiting approval from the President.

“We should 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 the road to pre-crisis growth but on a sustainable path of development,” the Governor previously said. (BSP)