Business group backs amendments to bank secrecy law

LOCAL business people have lent their support to passing the Amendment to Republic Act 1405 (Bank Secrecy Act) to help the government fight tax evasion and other financial crimes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said the country’s bank secrecy law had been mentioned in international reports on overseas tax evasion, money laundering money and corruption.

The PCCI said that despite this, the bank secrecy law has been cited as a constitutional and statutory right despite the causal evidence between the secrecy laws and illegal activities.

“The Bank Secrecy Law should be amended to bring the country’s banking and financial systems in line with international best practices and meet global transparency standards, combat illegal financial transactions, and promote the safety and soundness of the financial system,” said the PCCI.

Additionally, the PCCI said safeguards must be in place to prevent abuse and maintain public trust. They added that private banks also need to be more transparent, especially when it comes to suspicious transactions.

The PCCI said banks should restrict access to banking services to potential criminals before they are able to place or manage illicit funds in offshore accounts.

He added that honest banks and depositors should be protected against the use of the law for harassment or other illicit purposes.

Earlier, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), said the country’s current bank secrecy laws weaken Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ exercise of its mandate to maintain a healthy and stable banking system. , as they limit BSP’s monitoring and evaluation activities, particularly in cases involving unsafe and unsound banking practices.

In April, BSP also called for urgent reforms to the country’s bank secrecy law, with the Philippines now the only country in the world to have such measures in place.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the Philippines needs to modify its current bank secrecy framework to comply with international standards for transparency and to combat domestic and global tax evasion, money laundering. money and other financial crimes.

Picture credits: Nonie Reyes