By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Thursday the measure establishing a regulatory framework for the development of Islamic banks would enable the country to tap into the growing pool of Islamic investors across the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Gatchalian, who sponsored Senate Bill 2231, said the measure would also allow Filipino Muslim entrepreneurs, especially those involved in micro, small, and medium enterprises, to effectively access responsive banking and financial services that are compliant with the principles of the Shari’ah or Islamic law.
“This proposed measure seeks to establish the legal and regulatory framework that will make Islamic finance in the country more viable and mainstream. Industry and technical concerns will be addressed by the salient provisions of the bill,” Gatchalian said.
“This bill also presents an opportunity to tap international financial markets for both resource mobilization and investment diversification through Sukūk and equity markets. The Islamic finance industry has expanded rapidly over the past decade, growing at 10 (percent) to 12 percent annually,” he added.
The measure mandates the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to authorize the establishment of Islamic banks.
The Monetary Board can also allow conventional banks to engage in Islamic banking arrangements through a designated Islamic banking unit within the bank, provided that the Islamic banking unit is separate from its conventional banking transactions.
The bill also mandates the BSP to formulate regulations for the development of Islamic banking in the country. (PNA)