• BSP Charter amendment not a Senate priority

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    An appeal of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for Congress to pass the proposed charter amendment to New Central Bank Act to update and strengthen its supervision of financial institutions may not be answered for now because it is not a priority of the Senate.

    Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. recently renewed a call to pass the proposed amendment that would enable the BSP to formulate and implement even better and timelier policies and programs to achieve price stability and other important objectives.

    “To strengthen these tools and mechanisms for the protection of depositors’ savings, and to ensure the smooth flow of financial transactions as well as enhance corporate liability, the amendment to the BSP Charter is at the very top of our legislative agenda,” Espenilla said.

    Senator Francis Escudero, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 1297 or An Act Amending Republic Act [RA] 7653, the law that created the BSP.

    The bill is currently on the second reading stage and, according to Escudero, there are three registered interpellators who are waiting to be scheduled.

    He said Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed their intention to interpellate in the BSP Charter amendment bill.

    SB 1297 is a consolidation of four Senate bills filed by then-Senate Minority Leader Drilon (SB 16), Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto (SB 859), Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito (SB 1148) and Escudero (SB 1027).

    The bill seeks to increase the Central Bank’s capitalization to P150 billion, which will be payable immediately upon effectivity of the Act in order to strengthen the corporate and financial viability of the country’s monetary authority.

    It would also grant the institution flexibility to establish adequate loss allowances and create reserve buffers against future risks and contingencies, and restoration of tax exemption, similar to other central banks in the world.

    SB 1297 is also pushing for the enhancement of credit operations by granting exemption from court processes relating to collateral obtained from banks, similar to that enjoyed by Land Bank of the Philippines.

    “It’s up to the majority leader when he will schedule it,” Escudero said when asked if there is already a schedule for interpellation.

    The Senate has already listed its priority bills for the second regular session and the BSP Charter amendment was not on the list

    Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said SB 1297 is not on their priority list, noting that there are still a lot of issues concerning BSP, but he did not elaborate.

    He added that he has not scheduled resumption of the period of interpellation on the bill and he would call for a caucus first before deciding on what to do next.

    JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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