Senate OKs higher BSP capitalization
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill increasing the capitalization of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) from P50 billion to P200 billion.

Approved was Senate Bill 1297, which seeks to amend Republic Act 7653, otherwise known as “The New Central Bank Act.” 

“The bill proposes to strengthen the tools which the BSP exercises in performing its mandates, supplement the mechanism in protecting savings of depositors and in ensuring the smooth flow of transactions in the financial system as well as to enhance the corporate viability of the BSP,” said Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Committee on Banks and Financial Institutions.

He said 20 years after the enactment of the law, which mandated the establishment of an independent central monetary authority, “the economic milieu in the Philippines has changed, globalization has increased the integration of financial markets and the scope of operations of financial institutions has evolved.”

“Undoubtedly, there is a need to respond to contemporary challenges in order that the BSP shall remain effective in its conduct of monetary policy and supervision of entities within the financial system,” Escudero said. 

Once signed into law, the payment of the increase in the capitalization shall be funded through the retention of declared dividends and taxes due to the national government and the adequacy of the P200 billion capitalization shall be subject to review every five years, to be adjusted upon joint recommendation by the secretaries of finance, and budget and management as well as the Monetary Board. 

Aside from providing policy directions in the areas of banking and credit, the bill calls for the BSP to have supervision over the operations of banks and exercise such regulatory and examination powers over quasi-banking operations.

The Monetary Board, under the bill, shall likewise be allowed to authorize, regulate and have examination powers to entities or persons to engage in money service businesses.

One of the salient features of the bill is a provision increasing the number of the BSP deputy governors, from the present three to five. 

The objective behind this move is to have a more responsive leadership in a complex institution, Escudero said. 

Aside from Escudero, co-authors of the bill are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito and Sonny Angara.

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