Press Release
January 20, 2009


The Senate has taken a significant step towards helping the local economy cope with the global financial meltdown with its passage on third and final reading of the measure seeking to double insurance coverage for bank depositors, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas said today.

Roxas, author of the bill which raises the Philippine Deposit Insurance's (PDIC) maximum insurance coverage from P250,000 to P500,000, at the same time expressed confidence the House of Representatives will approve soon its own version of the measure.

"Malaking tulong ito para sa ating mga kababayan na nag-iipon ng kanilang pera sa bangko. Kailangang makasiguro sila na ang perang pinaghirapan nila ay hindi basta-basta mawawala kung sakaling magsara ang bangko kung saan sila may mga bank accounts (This will significantly help workers who have saved their monies in banks. They have to be sure that their hard-earned savings are safe even if their banks closed)," he said.

"We are seeing just the beginning of hard times. Our people need to be confident that their hard-earned savings remain safe while local businesses scramble to deal with the financial tsunami threatening to hit the country hard," he also said.

The increased deposit insurance is expected to favorably affect 97.23% of the country's more than 31 million deposit accounts.

The Ilonggo senator said now that the impact of the global financial crunch is starting to be felt by the local economy, government must work quickly to complete the safety nets it has promised to put up to counter the effects of the meltdown.

"Nasaan na ang mga ipinangakong emergency measures ni Pangulong Arroyo? Nagsisimula pa lang itong krisis pinansiyal na ito sa Amerika ay nanawagan na ako ng aksyon mula sa pamahalaan pero hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin ito kumikilos. Ano pa ba ang hinihintay ni Gloria? (Where are the emergency measures promised by President Arroyo? The financial crisis has yet to hit the country when I first urged her to do something about it but until now, she has done nothing. What is she waiting for?" he asked.

The senator has proposed other measure to cushion the impact of the financial crisis, among them:

1. A 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, to protect those unable to pay off their loans or mortgages;

2. An elimination of penalties for early withdrawal of bank deposits; and

3. Corporate income tax credit for each additional permanent employee hired, as an incentive for employers to provide job security.

He has also pushed for P100 billion of realignments in the 2009 budget to focus on food security, job security, education and health, and protection of the country's financial institutions.

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