Bangko Sentral suspends work, closes offices for disinfection vs coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   March 12, 2020   •   620

BANGKO SENTRAL

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday announced it will temporarily suspend work and close its offices for two days to facilitate disinfection of its premises amid the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In an advisory, the BSP said work at its head office and the Security Plant Complex has been suspended for Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13.

“The BSP, however, shall continue normal open market and Philpass settlement operations as well as the servicing of cash withdrawals by banks at the SPC,” it said.

The central bank’s move comes after its top official, Governor Benjamin Diokno, announced he will undergo a self-quarantine over concerns of exposure to the virus.

In a tweet Thursday, Diokno assured he is well and has not exhibited symptoms of novel coronavirus.

“I am glad to share that I am well & not manifesting any symptoms, although I decided to go on self-quarantine as a precautionary measure,” he said.

Diokno was among the government officials who attended the inspection of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Harbor Link C3-R10 section last week with President Rodrigo Duterte, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

Dominguez and Tugade earlier said they will go on self-quarantine as a precautionary measure after contact with an infected individual.

Malacañang also announced Thursday that Duterte will get tested for the virus even if he has shown no symptoms.

BSP tells consumers: Practice ‘cyber hygiene’ in digital transactions

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advised financial consumers to practice cyber hygiene when making online transactions.

The BSP said cyber hygiene refers to practices and steps that users of digital devices and financial services take to ensure online security.

While central bank’s policies and regulations direct supervised financial institutions to comply with stringent cybersecurity risk management protocols and internal controls, it said consumers also have the responsibility to reduce their vulnerability to usage errors and be vigilant against financial crimes perpetrated online. 

“Cybersecurity awareness and cyber risk management should be part of the daily routine of Filipinos. Every consumer must diligently observe cyber hygiene practices to protect themselves from scammers and fraudulent financial transactions,” BSP governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

As consumers shifted to online financial transactions during the pandemic, the BSP noted that internet banking, mobile banking and e-money remain among the top concerns reported through the Consumer Assistance Management System (CAMS).

“Most issues pertain to fund transfers, crediting funds to recipient accounts, and unauthorized transactions,” it said.

It added that these data underscore that cybersecurity is the shared responsibility of financial institutions and consumers alike.

They likewise strengthen the resolve to intensify implementation of its Digital Literacy Program, which aims to increase public trust and confidence in the digital finance ecosystem and encourage massive usage of digital financial services by consumers across all sectors, including individuals, corporations, businesses, and even government institutions.

Digital literacy is seen as a core skill necessary for financial consumers to fully benefit from the digital finance ecosystem, the BSP said.

Digitally literate consumers are those who understand how to use digital financial services; know the risks of usage and have the ability to protect themselves from such risks; and aware of consumer rights and redress procedures, it added.

“Digital literacy becomes more crucial as the BSP implements various aspects of its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which aims to shift at least 50% of retail payment transactions to digital, and to have at least 70% of adult Filipinos owning and using a bank account or e-wallet by 2023,” the BSP said.

BI main building closes again for disinfection after 3 staffers contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that its main office building in Intramuros, Manila will be closed again for disinfection on Monday (July 27) and Tuesday (July 28).

This, after three employees of the agency tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that during the two-day suspension of operations, all BI employees at the main office will be required to undergo rapid antibody tests and that those with positive results will be subjected to confirmatory swab tests for the virus.

The official added that all officials and employees at the main office be made to undergo rapid testing every month as recommended by BI COVID-19 Task Force Chair Deputy Commissioner Aldwin Alegre.

“Given the high number of people who troop to our main building everyday to transact business, we have to take all precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of this virus in our office premises,” Morente said.

The BI Chief added that periodic disinfection of the building’s premises will be conducted to help prevent further transmission of COVID-19.

Work at Supreme Court suspended from July 20-22 for disinfection

Robie de Guzman   •   July 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Friday announced that work in its offices will be suspended from July 20 to 22 to give way to the disinfection of its premises.

In a memorandum circular, Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court’s buildings and offices will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized starting July 18 until July 22 to minimize the possible spread of infection.

Peralta also stated that only on-duty personnel from the Office of the Bar Confidant, the cash collection, and disbursement division, medical services, and the security and maintenance divisions will be authorized to report for work during the disinfection process.

The repeat Rapid Anti-Body Testing to all Justices, officials, employees and service providers will resume on Thursday, July 23, he added.

The signing of Roll of Attorneys for the 2019 Bar Passers will continue as scheduled.

The Supreme Court resumed operations, through a skeleton force, last June 1.

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