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Lawmakers want investments included in Jr. HS curriculum

TO equip the young with the tool for long-term savings and long-term investment, lawmakers are pushing for the passage of a bill seeking to include a savings and investment subject in the junior high school curriculum.

AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon S. Garin and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo said they filed House Bill 9058, or the proposed “Savings and Investments Act of 2021,” to prepare young Filipinos prior to senior high school and college or university studies.

The authors said they also filed the bill to have an effective investor education program to encourage sustained retail participation in the capital markets and address the challenge of financial literacy in the Philippines.

The lawmakers noted they noted how criminals exploited the lockdown last year to perpetuate multiple types of scams ranging from pyramiding sales to complex investment scams involving cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange.

Indeed, the solons said the massive reach of social media and other online platforms in the country, coupled with a population easily swayed to place their trust in an entity illegally soliciting investments, has heightened the risk of investment scams victimizing the public.

“The low savings and financial literacy levels to identify tell-tale signs of investment scams underscore the need for a national response through financial literacy and education,” they said in their explanatory note.

The bill is set to promote investor education, investor protection and scam-proof the population and, enable the young population to understand the fundamental principles of finance and investments as they chart their chosen strand and track for their senior high school years.

Under the bill, a relevant, comprehensive and globally-benchmarked national investor education program shall be integrated within the enhanced basic education program prescribed under the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.

Citing the BSP 2019 Financial Inclusion (FI) Survey, the authors revealed that only half or 55 percent of Filipino adults know the effect of inflation on the prices of goods and services, while only a third or 33 percent of respondents correctly answered questions on interest rates.

They said the same percentage of respondents also admitted that they do not know how much their savings would be if the interest rate is guaranteed at 2 percent and compounded annually for five years.

Upon the enactment of the bill, a National Investor Education Program shall be established to foster financial inclusion for both existing and potential investors, and enable the development of financial markets through collaborations by the government with both public and private sector participants in the finance and investments industry.

Further, the savings and investment subject shall introduce, among others, the fundamentals of long-term financial planning, the suitability of financial products relative to one’s risk-reward profile, and an understanding of how different savings and investment products deliver returns.

The bill is pending with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture since March March 25, 2021.

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