A measure has been filed in the Senate seeking to protect consumers against abusive debt collection practices and fraudulent schemes of some financial service providers.
In filing Senate Bill 2287, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is aiming to expand the jurisdiction of government financial regulators to cover all financial products and services offered and marketed by financial service providers.
He expressed concern over the proliferation of fraudsters who take advantage of individuals who struggle with lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He cited the 15,015 new complaints received by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' Consumer Empower Group from the first to the third quarter of 2020. This reflects a 63.3% increase from the record of 9,250 complaints received in 2019.
"Lubhang nakakabahala ang pagdami ng reklamo mula sa mga konsyumer laban sa mga naglipanang nagpapautang sa online o kaya mga loan sharks na lalo pang naging mapangahas ngayong may pandemya," Gatchalian said.
"Alam nilang hindi sila sakop ng financial regulators kaya kailangan ng mas epektibong mekanismo na tutugon sa mga makabagong pamamaraan ng mga mapagsamantala sa kapwa," he added.
Under the measure, financial service providers will be prohibited to collect or recover debts from financial consumers in an abusive manner.
The BSP, Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission, and the Cooperative Development Authority would be authorized the perform acts needed to protect financial consumers against fraudulent schemes.
These acts include market conduct surveillance and examination, market monitoring, enforcement, provision of complaints handling mechanism, adjudication and rule-making.