Bangko Sentral backs bill protecting financial accounts vs cybercrime amid rise in digital transactions

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2021 10:41 AM | Updated as of Sep 25 2021 10:42 AM

MANILA— The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Saturday said it supports a Senate measure that aims to protect financial customers from cybercrime, as digital transactions in the country continued to rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a statement, the central bank said the proposed Bank Account, E-Wallet, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation or Senate Bill No. 2380 would help authorities counter cybercriminals and syndicates from attacking bank accounts and e-wallets.

The measure covers phishing, fraudulent bank transactions, misrepresentation, among other things, they said.

"The legislative measure will strengthen the country's legal framework for financial consumer welfare and foster greater public awareness on cybersecurity," the BSP explained. 

Aside from this, the BSP pointed out that its immediate passage would boost the public's confidence in digital transactions "and promote the country's financial stability."

Sen. Grace Poe, who filed the bill, said safeguards should be put in place to protect digital platforms operating in the country.

One of its goals is to require banks and financial institutions to respond to cybercrime cases "with more urgency" and improve online platforms, payment schemes, and data security. 

Citing BSP data, she added that majority or at least 98 percent of the crime reports filed by banks from March 15 to May 18 last year were "online in nature," worth P60.6 million.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, said online scams rose by 37 percent from March to September last year compared to the same period in 2019, the lawmaker noted. 

Under the BSP's digital payments transformation road map, the central bank is aiming to have at least 70 percent of Filipino adults with a financial account. 

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said digitalization has kept the economic gears running, while most businesses were shut during last year's lockdown. 

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