President Rodrigo Duterte has certified to Congress as urgent measures those that would aid financial institutions during the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen the anti-money laundering law.
The certifications were issued on Friday, the last day of Congress’ special session which Duterte called for. But Congress failed to pass the two bills.
Duterte said he wanted the speedy passage of Senate Bill 1849 or the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) bill which would help banks unload bad loans and assets through special purpose vehicles.
The bill recognizes the role of banks and other financial institutions as mobilizers of savings and investments and in providing the needed financial system liquidity to keep the economy afloat.
“It is essential that banks and other financial institutions are able to maintain their financial health in order to cushion the adverse economic impact of the COVID-10 pandemic,” it stated.
Duterte said the bill would “strengthen financial initiatives towards national economy recovery and maintain the stability of the financial sector amidst the Pandemic.”
The FIST bill is endorsed for plenary approval in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the President also certified as urgent Senate Bill 1412 and its counterpart bill in the House, House Bill 6174, which seeks to strengthen Republic Act 9160 or the “Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.”
“Such compliance will avoid adverse findings against the country which could lead, among others, to increased costs of doing financial transactions, to the prejudice of the business sector and our overseas Filipino workers,” Duterte said in letters sent to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Previously, Duterte certified as urgent a bill seeking to grant the country’s chief executive powers to streamline the issuance of licenses and permits in times of national emergencies.