Angara: Intensify financial literacy programs

To avoid the growing number of Filipinos victimized by investment scams, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the government to bolster its financial literacy programs.

“Glowing reviews and optimistic projections have been heaped on the Philippine economy, particularly regarding its financial system,” Angara stated.

“Opportunities abound on account of these developments but many Filipinos do not even have a basic grasp of economic and financial concepts,” he added.

Angara pointed out that the recent discovery of almost PhP 1-billion in fraudulent bitcoin investments only shows such inadequate financial literacy among Filipinos that they still believe in schemes related to huge returns even in a short span of time.

Last April 4, the Philippine National Police (PNP) led the arrest of Arnel and Leonady Ordonio who had been reported due to fake bitcoin investment.

The couple reportedly claimed PhP 900-million in cryptocurrency investments from their victims.

Angara mentioned that despite the existence of Republic Act 10922 also known as the Economic and Financial Literacy Act, it is noticeable that there isn’t much of improvement in making Filipinos financially intelligent.

“This is not the first time that we have seen such scams that have victimized our hapless kababayan whose only intention is to earn legitimate income for their families,” Angara furthered. “Their lack of knowledge of the financial system and investment, however, will only continue the cycle of victimization if we do not address this.”

According to Angara, the law states that the second week of November of every year will be the “Economic and Financial Literacy Week” to develop national consciousness on economic and financial literacy.

In observance of this, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will be in-charge of leading other government agencies and financial institutions including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Youth Commission (NYC), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in initiating activities aimed at encouraging and teaching Filipinos to have technical knowledge on investments.

The NEDA is also tasked to plan, initiate, execute and encourage knowledge-expanding activities on economic and financial literacy that local government units (LGUs), government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCCs) and educational institutions may adopt.

The law also mandates the DepEd, CHED and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the NYC to conduct consciousness-raising and knowledge-expanding activities within their jurisdiction, such as setting up literature corners, organizing fora and trainings, and conducting basic economic and financial management classes to improve the economic and financial literacy of students and the youth.

“We must recognize the growth potential of our country through financially literate citizens who can make sound financial decisions, mobilize savings, and contribute ideas on improving economic and financial policies and programs,” Angara noted.