The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) commends the unanimous act of the House of Representatives to pass House Bill 6710 or “An Act Amending R.A. 8484 Otherwise Known as the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998” on third and final reading without a single objection.
The Lower House, through the able leadership of Rep. Ben P. Evardone, Chairman of the Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, recognized the gravity and the profound economic impact of financial fraud and crimes committed through the use of electronic devices and technical gadgets. Besides the direct loss from financial and trade transactions, the rising incidences of system breach has the propensity to erode public trusts on finance and banking institutions. Declaring the commission of such crimes as heinous and a form of economic sabotage and raising the punishment to the maximum allowable by law are expected to deter criminals from further committing such acts. This bold move will help in ensuring the safety, security and stability of the Philippine financial system. The stiffer penalties are preventive measures against foreign crime syndicates who simply post bail if caught, then immediately leave the country limiting the reach of our local law enforcement agencies.
The road ahead is long as this bill will still require the ratification of the Senate and finally the bicameral conference committee which we hope can be successfully concluded. In the implementation of the law, a concerted effort of all law enforcement agencies, financial regulatory agencies, affected stakeholders and the community at large, is necessary.