Manila, Philippines – A House of Representatives (HOR) solon called for the adoption of the measure that will ensure financial protection for consumers, following reports of bank account hacking and scams in recent days.
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd arrondissement), the main author of Bill 6768, or Consumer Financial Protection Law, which the Lower House approved in June last year, called on the Senate to pass its own version of the law.
The House forwarded HB 6768 to the Senate the day after the bill was approved by the Lower House.
Salceda said the adoption of the Consumer Financial Protection Act “will protect users of banking and other monetary services, in response to recent incidents of phishing, hacking and other financial service scams.”
“Unfortunately, we do not yet have a comprehensive framework to protect users of online financial services. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deals with issues on a case-by-case basis, but our laws are not there yet. As a result, crooks feel emboldened to cheat others with their hard-earned money because BSP cannot be everywhere monitoring financial products, ”Salceda said.
“I call on the Senate to adopt the emergency measure, especially since our financial regulators also support the measure,” he added.
The lawmaker pointed out that a “very powerful part of our proposed measure is that it would allow consumers to raise their complaints to the BSP and the BSP to bring independent civil action if the banks do not handle complaints in a manner that is satisfactory “.
Salceda also noted that the country’s banking system still lacks cybersecurity and user protection, and their user verification systems and identification functions are still highly susceptible to hacking and scams.
He called this a “major challenge for financial inclusion, as citizens who get ripped off can be discouraged from using financial services.”
Salceda stressed that this breach of banking protection is a “threat to the confidence of consumers – Filipino and foreign – in the security of our financial system”.
“Of course, scams are everywhere and in all countries. But our own laws have very little to say directly about these financial scams, ”he added.
Salceda also criticized the banking industry for placing the onus on account holders to protect their money.
“They cashed in with you for a reason. They could have just hid their money under the mattress. You charge a fee to protect their money, and it’s not a cheap fee compared to other countries. The least you can do is tighten up your security measures, ”Salceda said.
He also particularly criticized Banco De Oro (BDO) for failing to provide solid security to its depositors.
“The service fees charged by the bank in question, BDO, represented about 14% of their total revenues in their last quarterly report. It is one of the highest among the big banks. You would expect them to offer better service security, especially since that’s what their consumers pay for, ”said Salceda.
Salceda, meanwhile, tabled Monday, December 13 a resolution addressed to the Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries to address the issue.
“I am also tabling a resolution calling on the Commission on Banks and Financial Intermediaries to assess the level of protection of retail clients among the country’s banks, and one with the Committee on Public Accounts to see to what extent our units of prevention of the cybercrime are prepared to implement the anti-fraud provisions of the Cybercrime Law, ”he said. – / mbmf