Gov’t financial inclusion panel backs Open Access bill as priority measure

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A group comprised of 20 national government agencies tasked to oversee the implementation of the Philippine National Strategy for Financial Inclusion has endorsed the inclusion of the Open Access to Data Transmission Bill as a priority legislation.

Photo shows Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin E. Diokno leading the 10th Meeting of the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) February 2. Joining him are BSP Monetary Board member Bruce Tolentino, DTI secretary Ramon Lopez, PDIC president Roberto Tan, Commission on Filipinos Overseas chief Francisco Acosta, Philippine Commission on Women chairperson Sandra Montano, DSWD undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin, Insurance Commission (IC) deputy insurance commissioner Erickson Balmes, DepEd assistant secretary Ramon Fiel Abcede, DOTr undersecretary Timothy John Batan, NEDA director Reynaldo Cancio, SEC commissioner Javey Paul Francisco, IC’s microinsurance division head Juan Paolo Roxas, DTI undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, and PNR general manager Junn Magno

In its 10th meeting held on Tuesday, February 2, the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) agreed to endorse legislative priorities aimed at enhancing the country’s digital and credit infrastructure as critical enablers of financial inclusion.

To ensure broad-based access to Internet and support use of digital financial services, the FISC is endorsing to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) the inclusion of the Open Access to Data Transmission Bill as a priority legislation. The bill aims to address Internet infrastructure gaps by bringing in more players to the broadband sector.

In December 2020, the FISC also endorsed to the Office of the President (OP) a proposed Executive Order that aims to liberalize access to satellite technology for broadband services and fast-track the expansion of Internet infrastructure in the rural areas that are unserved by the incumbents. The proposal is pending evaluation before the OP.

The FISC is also endorsing the passage of the Warehouse Receipts Bill to promote warehouse receipts as a credible loan collateral toward improved access to credit of farmers and MSMEs. By modernizing and professionalizing the warehousing industry, the bill will support supply chain financing as well as the growth of e-commerce under the pandemic and beyond.

The FISC meeting also provided members with updates on the microinsurance industry, digitalization, and formalization of MSMEs, and the rollout of the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys. The panel said these are important initiatives to build the financial resilience of communities and businesses as the country emerges from the crisis.

The FISC, which serves as a platform for whole-of-government approach in promoting financial inclusion, will meet again in July 2021.

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