Financial consumer protection bill hurdles House panel

MANILAThe House of Representatives' committee on banks and financial intermediaries on Tuesday approved a measure providing protection to financial consumers.

The panel, chaired by Leyte Rep. Henry Ong, approved House Bill No. 8301, which seeks to upgrade the powers of financial regulators, such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Insurance Commission (IC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure that the rights of every consumer are protected.

Under the bill, financial regulators shall be granted rulemaking, surveillance and inspection, market monitoring, and enforcement powers relative to consumer protection.

Ong, author of the measure, cited the need to establish a comprehensive financial protection regime wherein financial inclusion, financial education, good governance, and effective supervision all come into play given that consumer protection is a "shared responsibility" among regulators, consumers, and stakeholders.

"House Bill 8301 empowers consumers and regulatory agencies. Consumers can dissect bundled products and pricing details and given a cooling off period during which they can cancel or return the contract entered into without penalty, not including the processing fees," he said.

"Kapag ganap nang naisabatas ang Financial Consumer Protection bill, agad nang makakahingi ng tulong ang publiko sa BSP, SEC, at IC para sa anumang reklamo kontra sa mga kumpanya at kanilang pinansyal na produkto at serbisyo (With the passage of the Financial Consumer Protection bill, the public could seek help from BSP, SEC and IC on their complaints against companies or the financial products and services they offer)," he said.

Ong said regulators shall be empowered to issue cease and desist orders without the necessity of a prior hearing to avoid grave and irreparable injury to the consumer.

The bill seeks to place investment advisers under the regulatory jurisdiction of the SEC. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency