The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent its proposed Bank Deposits Secrecy bill, which seeks to enhance the monetary authorities’ supervisory capacity, according to the Governor Benjamin Diokno.
“We will request the President to certify this as urgent,” he announced during a virtual briefing on Wednesday.
Diokno said the Bank Deposits Secrecy bill, or House Bill 8991, will amend Republic Act 1405 or “The Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law,” which provides limitations on the depth of information that the central bank can access.
“The passage of the bill is seem to have wide-ranging beneficial impact,” he emphasized, adding that the measure will be limited within the confines of BSP’s banking supervision and its investigation of closed banks.
Under the proposal, the coverage of allowed inquiries is not too broad to include just any depositor, as it is limited only to deposits of specified persons and anchored on their commission of fraud, serious irregularity or unlawful activity.
Diokno further said the proposed amendments also include provisions to protect banks against frivolous suits from depositors in line with central bank inquiry or examination of deposits; and against the use of the law for persecution or harassment, or to hamper competition in trade or commerce.
“This reform is seen to ultimately benefit depositors as the BSP will have strengthened capacity to protect them from losses due to fraud and other unlawful activities,” he explained.
The central bank chief added that the proposal is also in line with the country’s broader efforts to combat both domestic and global tax evasion, money laundering, and other financial crimes; to promote harmonious and supportive international relations; and to meet international standards on transparency.
“The proposed reforms will place the country’s deposit secrecy law at par with international standards,” he further said, as he highlighted that the Philippines is the only country in the world with such deposit secrecy laws.