Editing by Michael Mislos
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that it has submitted its list of priority bills for the 19th Congress to further strengthen the banking sector and expand payment systems.
The BSP’s legislative agenda includes the Bank Deposits Secrecy bill; the proposed Financial Accounts Regulation Act (FARA); the SIM Card Registration bill; and the Digital Payments bill.
Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill
According to the Central Bank, this bill, when turned into law, will strengthen the banking system’s capacity to combat tax evasion, money laundering, and other financial crimes.
The bill will also relax the existing law on bank deposits secrecy, or House Bill No. 8991, in the 18th Congress, which has been on the BSP’s legislative agenda for several years already.
The passage of House Bill 8991 was supported by the Central Bank because, according to them, it will allow a thorough examination of bank accounts with suspicious transactions.
“The Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill is the BSP’s priority legislative measure in the 19th Congress,” BSP said in a statement.
Accordingly, the monetary authority has been pushing this bill intensely since 2021 because it will help the country’s efforts to remove its name from the “grey list” of “dirty money” global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Being a grey-listed country means that the government is under increased monitoring because they have been found to have strategic deficiencies in efforts to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.
Thus, reforms in deposit secrecy will increase efforts to combat domestic and global tax evasion, money laundering, and other financial crimes.
The last time the Philippines was on the FATF “grey list” was in 2013.
Financial Accounts Regulation Act (FARA)
Meanwhile, the proposed FARA’s goal is to tighten up the regulations for lawbreakers.
“The proposed FARA, meanwhile, aims to strengthen consumer protection and impose higher penalties for financial cybercrimes,” the BSP stressed.
The Central Bank also emphasized that consumers that use either physical or digital services will benefit from this act, as “the proposed law seeks to regulate the use of bank accounts and e-wallets and prevent their use for criminal activities.”
SIM Card Registration Bill
On the other hand, the BSP has also been pushing for this bill to curb and deter the proliferation of SIM card-aided and SMS-linked crimes, such as bank fraud and text scams.
The SIM Card Registration Bill was already approved by both chambers of Congress and is now up for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s signature.
Digital Payments Bill
Lastly, the Philippine Central Bank stated its intention to support the Digital Payments Bill because of a number of positive benefits that it will bring to the public and to the government itself.
“As a long-standing advocate for the digitalization of financial transactions and financial inclusion, the BSP pushes for the passage of the Digital Payments Bill, which fosters the adoption of safe, affordable, and efficient digital payments in financial transactions with the government,” it claimed.
During the 18th Congress, the BSP added that the bills that it supported resulted to the legislative measures that intensified consumer protection and enhanced the delivery of and access to financial products and services.
The legislative agenda of the Central Bank last Congress were the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development Financing Enhancement Act of 2022; the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act; amendments to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation charter; and the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act.
“The BSP will work with the 19th Congress on the passage of priority bills that are expected to boost public trust and confidence in the country’s financial and payment systems,” BSP Governor Felipe Medalla concluded.
This article is published on BitPinas: BSP Includes Sim Card Registration, Digital Payments Bill as Priorities to 19th Congress
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine crypto and beyond.