The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 5000 seeking to grant the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) with regulatory and supervisory powers over the country’s payment systems.
The bill aims to promote safe, efficient and reliable operation of payment systems to control systemic risk and provide an environment conducive to the sustainable growth of the economy.
As defined by the BSP, a payment system is an arrangement that allows users to transfer money. Money is regarded as cash and claims against credit institutions in the form of deposits.
The bill mandates the BSP to: ensure the monetary and financial system of the country is stable and effective to own and operate a system deemed necessary by the Monetary Board (MB); and determine who may be allowed to open an account for settlement purposes.
Once a payment system poses a systematic risk or whenever it becomes necessary to protect public interest, the BSP may designate a new payment system and designate someone to manage the operations of a designated payment system operator with prior approval of the MB.
The BSP is also tasked to mete out sanctions such as: revocation of a designated payment system operator’s certificate of authority; cancellation of the payment operator’s registration; and imposition of fines to erring operators with penalties ranging from imprisonment of two to 10 years for wilful violations of the provisions of the Act of any rule/order from the MB.
Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), principal author of the bill, said the e-commerce industry makes up only one percent of the country’s total e-commerce generation as compared to its ASEAN neighbors which generate four to five percent in e-commerce transactions.
“This bill will give us the opportunity to protect retailers, enhance buyer experience, boost confidence in the financial sector, and keep pace with the ever-improving technology for cashless payment,” Arroyo said.
In its primer, BSP describes the payment systems as an “essential mechanism to the effective functioning of financial systems worldwide”. These systems provide channels where funds are transferred among banks and other institutions as payment for obligations arising from economic and financial transactions across the entire economy, the BSP cited.
The bill was endorsed for plenary approval by the committee on banks and financial intermediaries chaired by Rep. Ben Evardone (Lone District, Eastern Samar).
Other authors of the bill are Evardone, Reps. Gus Tambunting, Henry Ong, Henry Oaminal, Jorge Almonte, Maria Theresa Collantes, Jocelyn Limkaichong, Juliet Marie Ferrer, Orestes Salon, Julieta Cortuna, Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, Wilfredo Caminero, and Tom Villarin.