by Joann Santiago, Philippine News Agency | Wednesday, 15 June 2016
The government’s bid to establish a financial system that is equitable to all Filipinos gained further traction through the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 208, which institutionalizes the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC).
FISC, institutionalized after President Benigno Aquino III signed EO No. 208 on June 2, 2016, is the governing body and overnight group in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI).
”The issuance of the EO represents another milestone in the country’s efforts to establish a financial system that benefits all Filipinos, regardless of socio-economic status, and thereby contribute to inclusive growth and development,” the central bank said in a statement.
The Philippines’ financial inclusion program is among the best in the world, but monetary officials said there was a need to further improve this to enable more Filipinos identify gains and benefits of economic developments.
“We can achieve this through financial inclusion where there is a wide range of financial products and services that are responsive to the needs of Filipinos and supports broad-based and inclusive growth,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. earlier said.
NSFI was launched in July 2015 during the visit to the Philippines of Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) since 2009. It was crafted by 13 government agencies.
FISC is chaired by Tetangco and its members include the heads of the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Insurance Commission (IC), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
The central bank said officials of other government agencies “may be invited as FISC members as necessary.”
FISC’s mandates include aligning various financial inclusion-related policies and programs, ensure effective monitoring of the progress of these programs, and collaborate with public and private stakeholders on NSFI areas and regulation.
Central bank data show that access to financial services among Filipinos remain low since, for one, although 43.2 percent of adult have savings, 68 percent of them keep their savings at home instead of the banking system or other formal sources.
It also disclosed that 72 percent of adult Filipinos who borrow, or about 47.1 percent of total adult population, source funding from informal sector and only 30.5 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) source funds from banks or formal lines of credits.
”With the effective implementation of the NSFI thru the oversight of the FISC, it is hoped that more people will benefit from having access to financial services and contribute to broad-based growth,” the central bank said. (PNA)