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BSP assures confidential information will remain private

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By Lee C. Chipongian

Data obtained from individuals or entity such as banks and corporates will only be used for statistical and policy development purposes and confidential information will remain private, the central bank said.

MB file photo.

MB file photo.

“Disaggregated data are subject to prevailing confidentiality laws,” said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Senior Assistant Governor and General Counsel, Atty. Elmore O. Capule.

Based on the amended BSP charter or Republic Act No. 11211, which President Duterte signed last February 15 after 25 years since it was first laid down, the BSP can now collect data from any private person or entity for statistical and policy development purposes but disaggregated data are still subject to prevailing confidentiality laws. This improved provision was to ensure the BSP’s monetary stability function will be stronger.

The previous charter allowed the BSP to only request for data and information from government offices and instrumentalities, or government-owned or controlled corporations, as well as individual firms, other than banks.

Under the revised BSP law, it now has the restored authority to require – not a mere request – data and information from “any person or entity” including government offices and corporations, for statistical and policy development purposes “in relation to the proper discharge of its functions and responsibilities” but disaggregated data will remain private or confidential.

The BSP has the power to subpoena the books and records of any private person or entity and refusal to do so “without justifiable cause” will face punishment for contempt in the courts.

“When we proposed this we had a lot of resistance from all sectors because they believe that the BSP will be encroaching into private information,” said Capule.

“We had to convince them – again and again – that we are not doing an individual information (data collection) but we are looking at entire disaggregate data because how can be effective if we don’t know and we don’t have the data?” he added.

Capule said that to give the public some measure of peace of mind, they reassured those concerned that confidential information will not be subject to this restored authority.

“We are asking for statistics for information from the private sector, and actually, the Philippine Statistical Authority already have this authority,” he said.

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