Senator Win Gatchalian pressed for the passage of the bill that will give financial regulators the power to enhance the conduct of surveillance against cybercriminals given the massive shift in digital financial transactions.
“Hackers and fraudsters are becoming very sophisticated and if we don’t stay ahead of the curve and no one is mandating to stay ahead of the curve we will see cases like what happened in BDO last year,” Gatchalian said.
In response to the senator’s query during Monday’s hearing on how often the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) updates the standards on cyber security being adopted by the banks, the BSP said that an on-site supervision is done once a year and there are also mechanisms for off-site surveillance.
As the senator pushed for the enactment of Senate Bill No. 2287 or the proposed “Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act,” he likewise urged the BSP to devise means that will make it harder for cyber criminals from taking over banks and other financial accounts of consumers.
“I am trying to understand the proactive approach of the BSP and the periodic audits or standard audits that the institution is doing to make sure that banks are implementing cyber security audits, policies and programs that will prevent cyber fraud from happening,” Gatchalian said.
Under Gatchalian’s bill, additional powers will be given to financial regulators such as the BSP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Insurance Commission (IC), and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to include adjudication authority to implement corrective measures, improve redress mechanisms, and enhance marketing conduct and surveillance. They will also be able to impose enforcement action on their respective supervised financial service providers for non-compliance of the provisions of the law and other existing laws.
“We have to address and cover the loopholes in the law and improve the capacity of the BSP and other financial regulators insofar as clamping down on the crimes committed by fraudsters and hackers are concerned. Our financial regulators should always be one step ahead of these cyber criminals,” Gatchalian stressed.
The Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies also underscored the significance of the measure as under the current set up, several financial regulators, particularly the BSP and SEC, are not empowered to conduct hearings and decide on consumer-related complaints.