On June 2, 2016, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Executive Order (EO) 208, institutionalizing the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC). The FISC, as a governing body, provides the strategic direction, guidance and oversight in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI).
The NSFI was earlier constituted through a consultative process, and serves as a guidepost for public and private-sector stakeholders to accelerate financial inclusion in the Philippines. It was launched in July 2015 during the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance and Development, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. It was also during this launch when 12 government agencies and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) signed a memorandum of understanding to signify their commitment to the NSFI.
The EO enumerates the 12 members of the FISC, with the BSP as chairman. The members are: the departments of Finance, Education, Trade and Industry, Social Welfare and Development, and Budget and Management; National Economic and Development Authority, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Cooperative Development Authority and the Insurance Commission. The departments of Agrarian Reform and Science and Technology would join later.
Its three primary functions are to provide overall policy and strategic direction in the implementation of the NSFI; to align various financial inclusion-related policies, regulations, programs and initiatives; and, third, to ensure effective progress monitoring of financial-inclusion activities that will facilitate evidence-based policy-making.
As a backgrounder of the situation in the Philippines, as of 2016 figures, around 68 percent of adults keep their savings at home, 72 percent of those who borrow do so from informal sources, only about 30.5 percent of small and medium enterprises have bank loans or formal lines of credit. Around 12 percent of the 1,634 municipalities all over the country have no access to bank or any type of financial-service providers.
On the part of the Insurance Commission, the counterpart advocacy is the promotion of microinsurance. Toward this end, the commission has activated its own Microinsurance Division to promote awareness on inclusive insurance.
Atty. Dennis B. Funa is the current insurance commissioner. Atty. Funa was appointed by President Duterte as the new insurance commissioner in December 2016. E-mail: email@example.com.