Members of the House of Representatives’ committee on banks and financial intermediaries chaired by Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar are pushing for a stronger and ample security and protection for bank depositors following the Bank of the Philippine Islands data processing error and alleged skimming of automated teller machine (ATM) deposit accounts of Banco de Oro Unibank.
This came after the Evardone panel conducted a probe into the system glitch encountered by the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
Ako Bicol party-list Reps. Alfredo Garbin and Christopher Co earlier filed a resolution to determine the root cause of the BPI computer glitch and come up with the needed safeguards in order to prevent such incidents from happening again not only in BPI but in other banks and financial institutions.
Evardone said the House under the stewardship of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez initiated a congressional probe into the incident to protect the consumers, especially the depositors, and the banking industry.
Evardone said the objective of the inquiry is to help stabilize, uphold, and promote the interests of the depositors and the banking industry.
During the hearing Thursday, BPI officials led by its president and chief executive officer Cezar Consing explained that the “data processing error” which happened last June 7 and 8, 2017 was due to human error and not hacking.
The bank official apologized over the incident and assured the lawmakers and the public that the bank is doing everything to prevent such incident from happening again.
The BPI officials also clarified that the reported millions or billions in account postings was only a hoax.
Rep. Edgar Sarmiento of Samar said that there should be a “safety net” and “check system” within the BPI after learning from bank officials that there are only two persons who are entrusted to handle the bank’s programming system.
Sarmiento asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to be on top of the situation and expressed hope the BSP would ably exercise its regulatory power over the banking industry.
Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. of Negros Oriental lamented that the BPI is entrusting the fate of millions of its depositors in the hands of only two people.
“Human error is not a glitch and that the bank’s system may not be safe since it could be circumvented by human intervention,” Teves said.
Teves asked BPI officials to look into reports that unscrupulous individuals are in collusion with BPI personnel in committing bank skimming and other bank theft.
Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque City) also urged the BPI to provide safeguards so that the depositors’ hard-earned money is not lost.
Tambunting said that depositors, especially the ordinary ones, do not keep a record of their ATM transactions.
Rep. Harry Roque of Kabayan party-list, a BPI depositor, said he lost P10,000 as a result of the system error. But Roque said his “lost” money has already been restored in his account per the advice of his bank manager.
Roque urged the BSP and the banking industry to put up safeguards so that the money of the depositors, especially the ordinary ones, is protected.