Press Release
February 21, 2024

Sen. Mark Villar pushes for Anti-Scammers Law: "Hindi na natin hahayaan na tumaas pa ang bilang ng mga nabibiktima ng mga online scams"

Senator Mark Villar delivered his sponsorship speech on the Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act or AFASA before the Senate floor. His sponsorship was overwhelmingly supported by the Senate as the Senate President Migz Zubiri, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Senators Win Gatchalian, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada have also delivered their co-sponsorship speeches, supporting the AFASA bill.

"Ang pinaghirapan ng ating mga kapwa Pilipino na para sana sa kanilang pang-araw-araw na gastusin ay ninanakaw lamang ng mga scammers. These are heinous crimes against our people, Mr. President and it is upon us to ensure that they will be put to a stop as soon as possible," Senator Mark said.

As a champion against financial cybercrime, Senator Mark emphasized the stronger provisions in AFASA that will arm the country's financial institutions with heightened risk management systems, power, and authority to manage the financial transactions of account owners which are poised to be dubious and suspicious.

"The AFASA will provide safety measures that will go after financial cybercrimes, such as being a money mule, committing social engineering schemes, and economic sabotage. AFASA also provides the responsibility of responsible institutions to protect and secure their clients' financial accounts, such as mandating them to have adequate risk management systems and controls including, but not limited to multi-factor authentication (MFA), fraud management systems (FMS), other account-holder enrollment and verification processes," Senator Mark highlighted in his speech.

Senator Mark cited multiple cases of scamming in the past year wherein Filipinos have lost millions to scammers. In the first eight months of 2023, more than 8000 Filipinos lost more than Php 155 million to different types of scams. During his speech, he showed videos of scam victims, one of which is a cancer patient whose money, supposedly for his chemotherapy and medicines, was siphoned out of his e-wallet account.

"Magkakaroon na po ng solusyon ang ating mga kababayan na maibalik sa kanila ang perang kanilang pinaghirapan nang hindi na kinakailangan na dumulog sa alin mang hukuman, kung ang dahilan ng scam ay ang kapabayaan ng ating mga banko, e-wallets, at financial institutions," Senator Mark emphasized.

"I cannot just sit and do nothing while these scammers steal the hard-earned money of our kababayans. Through AFASA, we will have stronger safeguards against fraudulent transactions by arming our financial institutions with risk management systems that will grant them sufficient power and authority to flag suspicious transactions," Senator Mark said,

"Scammers should not be given further slack to continue their opportunist activities against unwilling victims. The false promise of these scammers should be shattered by our unwavering commitment to provide a Philippines where scammers do not proliferate. Through the AFASA, we are looking forward to the future of a scam-free Philippines," Senator Mark further said.

After Senator Mark's sponsorship speech, the AFASA is now awaiting further legislative actions before the Senate. Once enacted into law, AFASA will serve as the primary legislation penalizing scammers and providing legislative support to the Philippine financial institutions to combat the proliferation of scammers.

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