One Filipino, One Bank Account

DESPITE THE boom of digital payment, solutions during the pandemic and the government’s initiatives for financial inclusion, some 51.2 million Filipinos remain unbanked.

This means that around 47% of the Filipino population still do not have a bank account. According to BSP’s 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey, only 28.6% of the respondents with ages 15 years old and above have a formal account, which includes bank, e-money, cooperative and microfinance institution accounts, and only 12.2% of these respondents have bank accounts. The same survey shows that 71% find difficulty in opening an account due to documentary requirements while 58% do not have the requirements for their loan applications in a formal financial institution.

While the Philippine National ID aims to address an individual’s lack of documentary requirements for opening a bank account, the government still needs to facilitate and strengthen the financial inclusion landscape in the country by facilitating the opening and maintaining of bank accounts that may be used for the delivery of the government’s public and social services.

Accordingly, Senator Win Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 2251 otherwise known as “One Filipino, One Bank Account Act” seeking to mandate its leading government financial institutions, particularly the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), to open and maintain a bank account for all Filipinos, free from opening and maintenance fees and charges, beginning January 1, 2023.

Gatchalian explained this will strengthen the financial inclusion landscape in the Philippines, and promotes seamless, efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of public and social services. Towards this end, the LandBank and the DBP shall empower every unbanked Filipino to have access to financial services that will allow efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of public and social services, and enable an ordinary Filipino to secure funding for his future enterprise and will be linked with the Philippine Identification System. Provided that, the LandBank and the DBP shall jointly create and manage a unified database of the bank accounts so created pursuant to this Act: Provided further, that the PhilSys shall be linked by the LandBank, the DBP and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) with the bank account so created and maintained under this Act. For this purpose, the linkage of the PhilSys with the bank accounts so created under this Act shall be exempted from the provisions of RA 1405, otherwise known as the “Bank Secrecy Law”.

This Act shall apply to all Filipino citizens who are covered by the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) under Republic Act (RA) 11055, otherwise known as the “Philippine Identification System Act”.

The LandBank and the DBP shall automatically open and maintain a bank account for Filipino citizens who have successfully registered with the PhilSys upon presentation of the PhilID issued pursuant to RA 11055: Provided, further that, any Filipino citizen who has not yet registered with PhilSys by January 1, 2023 may proceed to the nearest LandBank or DBP branch to secure a bank account by presenting other proper and acceptable identification issued by the government: Provided, further that, said bank account shall be automatically linked with the PhilSys upon successful registration of the Filipino citizen, without need of his consent.

The bank accounts for Filipino citizens below the age of majority or who are incapacitated to give consent under Article 1327 of the New Civil Code shall be opened and linked with the accounts of their parents, legal guardians or persons exercising substitute parental authority, as the case may be.

The LandBank and the DBP, in coordination with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the PSA, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and other pertinent government agencies and local government units, shall immediately formulate a mechanism to implement the objectives of this Act, and to establish a seamless transition wherein these bank accounts shall be used for the delivery of the government’s public and social services.

The amount needed for the initial implementation of this Act shall be taken from the current year’s appropriations of LandBank, DBP and PSA. Thereafter, the amounts as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

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