(STAR) By Lawrence Agcaoili  - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging legislators to enact proposed amendments to the charter of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In a statement, IMF said proposed amendments to RA 7653 or the New Central Bank Act of 1993 should be approved without further delay to strengthen the supervisory powers of the BSP.

“As in other countries, supervisory authorities should be provided with sufficient legal powers and protection to meet their core mandate,” IMF said.

The IMF said proposed changes to the BSP charter would lift the remaining constraints of the bank secrecy laws on examiners and at the same time enhances the scope for risk-based supervision including risk based approach to capital requirements.

IMF said the amendments would also authorize the BSP to issue its own debt securities to strengthen the effectiveness of monetary management.

The state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) is also supporting initiatives to amend the BSP charter to give monetary authorities additional powers.

PDIC president Jose Nograles said the proposed changes would strengthen its capability to regulate and supervise banks and allow the central bank greater flexibility to deal with distressed institutions.

The PDIC has likewise put forward an eight-point proposal in support of the BSP Charter amendment which may help the central bank better promote the general well-being of the banking system.

Among the amendments proposed by PDIC to the New Central Bank Act is Bridge Bank Authority, which is an alternative means of bank failure resolution practiced in countries such as the US.

Nograles added that among the co-regulatory acts that PDIC is recommending is the inclusion of an additional ground for the closure of a bank. This is the actual cessation of operation by a bank notwithstanding that the bank represents itself to be a going concern.

PDIC is also proposing the grant of an express authority to dispose of assets of banks under receivership even without consent of closed banks’ stockholders.

Other proposals are: authority to prescribe the terms and conditions and qualifications of banks’ rehabilitators; extension of receivership period for another 90 days; and inclusion of franchise or license as asset of closed banks.

Teves backs out from senatorial bid By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated November 28, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Finance Secretary Margarito Teves has decided not to run for senator under the administration party, saying the country’s fragile fiscal health needs more urgent attention.

Teves, who was in the senatorial lineup of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, believes that the ruling coalition understands the situation and respects his decision.

“After careful thought and serious consideration, I believe that there are many tasks still to be done at the Department of Finance, more so now in light of our extremely challenging fiscal situation,” Teves told reporters yesterday.

The Finance chief has said that the Philippines is facing the worst of times as the budget deficit has already widened to P266.1 billion as of end-October. This is P16.1 billion higher than the full-year ceiling of P250 billion.

A swelling deficit means that the government is increasingly in need of fresh revenues to finance basic expenses such as social services and infrastructure projects.

However, both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have been falling short of their revenue targets, blaming the global financial turmoil.

Aside from the need to attend to the country’s fiscal situation, Teves also said he has been tasked to initiate disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts along with the private sector.

“We believe it is untimely and awkward to let go of these responsibilities midstream in favor of seeking an electoral mandate in 2010,” Teves said.

President Arroyo has named Teves head of the Special National Public Reconstruction Commission which would spearhead, along with the private sector, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas affected by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”

Teves has left the public guessing for months on his political moves.

Some groups had even urged him to run for vice-president in tandem with the ruling party’s presidential bet, former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

The party has already named celebrity Edu Manzano as its vice-presidential candidate.

Sources close to Teves said his low popularity ratings also led him to decide against running for public office next year.

With his decision not to participate in the 2010 elections, Teves appealed to his colleagues in government as well as the media and the public to support his department’s efforts in fixing the country’s fiscal position.

Teves was appointed finance secretary on July 12, 2005.

His political career started in July 1987 when he was elected representative of the 3rd district of Negros Oriental. .

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved