BSP unveils new program to bolster rural banking industry

Maris Federez   •   June 18, 2021   •   1051

MANILA, Philippines — ​The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has launched a program that aims to strengthen the rural banking industry in the country.

The BSP, on Friday, said the program is in recognition of its critical role in providing financial services in rural and agricultural communities.

“The Rural Banking Industry Strengthening Program (RBSP) is part of the BSP’s broader and continuing efforts to boost the resilience of the rural banking industry, which is a key agent of countryside development as it provides financial services to rural communities, including micro, small and medium enterprises,” said BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

The Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on the RBSP headed by the Steering Committee composed of the BSP, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Trade and Industry, with Monetary Board Member (MBM) V. Bruce J. Tolentino as chair, will carry out the program.

“The BSP pursues the RBSP as we recognize the vital role that rural banks play in the areas of financial inclusion and inclusive economic growth,” said Tolentino.

The steering committee will be supported by a technical working group (TWG) mandated to formulate an action plan, including the development of a capacity-building program for RBs, and will be guided by senior advisers who will provide technical guidance in activities requiring research, data collection, analysis, and policy formulation.

The BSP said the Steering Committee and TWG will meet regularly over the next months and are expected to submit an initial package of proposed policies, programs, and reforms to the Monetary Board by the end of 2021. —/mbmf

BSP orders social media platform ‘Lyka’ to suspend operations due to lack of registration

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday (July 23) ordered the social media platform ‘Lyka’ to stop its operations.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno explained the said online business site is not registered as an operator of a payment system.

“The Monetary Board has ascertained that these activities make Lyka an OPS (Operators of Payment Systems) thus required to be registered with the BSP,” Diokno explained.

“Yet to date, it is not registered to the BSP. Today the BSP has directed Lyka to suspend activities as an OPS and invited the company to apply for registration with the BSP before it is allowed to continue its OPS activities,” he added.

According to BSP statement, Lyka was launched in the Philippines by a Hong Kong-based company which allows its users to purchase, exchange, and use gift cards in electronic mode or GEMs as payment for goods and services. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Pagpapasahod ng barya, labag sa batas ayon sa Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2021

Labag sa batas ang pagpapasahod ng barya, ayon sa Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Batay sa isang circular ng BSP, ang mga baryang piso gaya ng P5 at P10 ang maari lang gamiting pambayad kung ang halaga ay hindi lalagpas ng P1,000.

Habang ang mga baryang P0.01, P0.05, P0.10 at P0.25 ay maaaring pambayad kung ang halaga ay hindi hihigit sa P100.

Ngunit mas maliit pa ang limitasyon nito kung ibabatay naman sa Republic Act 7653 o The New Central Bank Act.

“In particular naman doon sa Section 52 of Republic Act 7653, ‘pag halimbawa, ang coin at 25 cents, up to 50 pesos lang pwede siyang pambayad. At kung 10 centavos, 5 centavos, 1 centavo, pwede mo siyang pambayad or sabihin na nating legal tender lang ang coin, hanggang 20 pesos lang,” ayon sa Bank Officer V ng BSP Currency Policy and Integrity Department Nenette Malabrigo.

Sinomang mapapantunayang lumabag sa naturang batas ay maaring magmulta ng P50,000 hanggang P200,000 o makulong ng 2 hanggang 10 taon o hindi kaya ay mapapatawan ng parehong parusa depende sa desisyon ng korte.

Paliwanag naman ng Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, posibleng makaapekto ang insidenteng ito sa business permit ng kumpanya.

“Remember, ang business permits natin, nakaangkla, may condition iyan. Pribilehiyo iyan na ibinibigay ng pamahalaang lungsod na nakalagay doon na kailangan sumunod ka sa lahat ng alituntunin, lokal man o nasyonal. A BSP Circular is part of a national ruling on how you should pay for goods and services rendered to you. So, doon, I can tell you, mayroon na siyang butas doon,” aniya.

Nanawagan si Gatchalian sa mga employer na tratuhin ng may dignidad ang kanilang mga tauhan dahil hindi ito palalagpasin ng lokal na pamahalaan.

Sinubukan ng UNTV na kuhaan ng pahayag ang naturang empleyado ngunit tumanggi muna ito habang may  nakatakda pang pakikipagpulong si Gatchalian sa may-ari ng kumpanya sa Miyerkules (ika-30 ng Hunyo). -AAC (Mula sa ulat ni Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Bill seeking to amend PH Insurance Code filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to introduce amendments to the Philippine Insurance Code and place the Insurance Commission (IC) under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has been filed at the Senate.

In lodging Senate Bill 2133, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go proposed to amend Presidential Decree No. 1460 or the Insurance Code of 1978 to explicitly include health maintenance organizations (HMO) into the law’s regulatory coverage which shall enable the Insurance Commission (IC) to provide stricter supervision.

Go said this will better protect the industry and the public from unscrupulous practices.

At present, HMOs are covered by the IC but Go said it is still unclear if the provisions of the Insurance Code apply to them.

“Itong finile ko po, kahit nasa ilalim ng Insurance Commission ang HMO, ‘di pa rin po malinaw kung nag-apply sa HMO ang mga provision ng Insurance Code. Mas maganda rin na nasa batas,” the senator said in a statement.

“Ang panukala ay naglalayong isali ang HMO sa Insurance Code para ma-protektahan ang interes ng mga kababayan natin at mahikayat ang competitive market sa health insurance industry,” he added.

According to Go, HMOs will be subjected to the provisions of the Code not explicitly provided for in Executive Order 192. These provisions include the commission’s powers to issue cease-and-desist orders to prevent fraud or injury to the public.

This also aims to enhance competition in the insurance industry and effectively improve insurance services for Filipinos.

Under the proposed amendments, the Insurance Commission will also be put under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which ensures that all financial service providers in the country are regulated by a single regulatory authority. The IC’s powers will also be amended under the proposal.

If passed into law, Go expressed optimism that the measure will benefit Filipinos investing in HMOs as it will provide them the necessary safeguards to ensure that their investments are protected.

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