House leader expects Congress approval of proposed Islamic banking law

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries expressed confidence over the approval of the proposed Islamic Banking law by Congress when it reconvenes after the May polls.

Leyte Rep. Henry Ong expressed hope that the Senate would follow suit to the House of Representatives in passing the measure, seeking to provide for the Islamic banking framework in the country.

“To boost the economy of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, I, as one of the authors of Bangsamoro Organic Law and Chair of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, express the hope that the proposed Islamic Banking law be prioritized immediately after Congress reconvenes post-May elections,” he said in a statement.

The House of Representatives approved on third reading House Bill 8281 or “An Act Providing for the Regulation and Organization of Islamic Banks” on November 20, 2018.

“House Bill 8281 is now with the Senate, where a Senate version is being consolidated,” Ong said.

The Senate has yet to release a committee report on the proposed law.

The authors of the bills in the Senate are Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

“Aside from the national budgetary support and foreign grants, new investments are needed in Northern Mindanao and BARMM. Having more investment flows through Islamic banks and expanded financial inclusion will further spur economic activity,” Ong said.

“Islamic banks will also enable private investors and governments in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa to engage with Filipino businesses with the Islamic banks as financial conduits, advisors and depositary institutions,” he said.

The House leader sought the immediate enactment of the bill into law to help attract private investments for Bangsamoro region and promote greater financial inclusion, especially for the under-served Muslim population.

“The enactment of the Islamic Bank Law will pave way for more Islamic banks in the country as Mindanao embarks on a new chapter in its history now that the Bangsamoro Organic Law has been ratified and the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority is in place,” Ong said.

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