Economic, financial forum held in Legazpi

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Hundreds of stakeholders from the government, business, banking and academe sectors met here Tuesday last week for three days of economic, financial learning sessions sponsored by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Legazpi Branch. The “Economic and Financial Learning Session” now in its third year is an event that highlights the observance of BSP’s 24th anniversary, said Sharon Moyano, BSP Senior Research Specialist, and branch spokesperson. Moyano, in an interview Tuesday, said the learning session is aimed at spurring public understanding and appreciation of relevant economic and financial issues shaping the country’s economic growth. Highlighting the event were presentations and discussions of economic and financial issues which include: Investing for Your Future: Understanding Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA); Overview of E-Banking and E-Money in the Philippines and How to Avoid Related Threats and Scams; and Recent Economic Developments in the Philippines and the Bicol region. Moyano said BSP resource persons including other banking experts presented and discuss the topics among the multi-sectoral participants. The PERA account, she noted, is an investment and insurance plan similar to what the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System are offering to government and private employees, respectively. But unlike the GSIS and SSS, the PERA investment and pension account would be available in private banking institutions accredited by the BSP, Moyano explained. Currently, the BDO and BPI are accredited to offer this pension plan to either government and private employees including overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who wish to avail of the plan. She said, “the financial and insurance account refers to a voluntary retirement account established for the exclusive use and for the benefit of the contributor.” Under PERA account, contributors such as employees and self-employed persons would shell out P100,000 a year in maximum investment while Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) could invest with a maximum amount of P200,000 a year. Contributors would receive their return on investment (ROI) upon reaching the retirement age of 55 years old. Earning or gains from the PERA account are either in cash, treasury bonds and share of stock. These are tax-free from the regular 20 percent withholding tax, while subscribers who plan to sell their shares upon maturity would be exempted from paying the capital gains tax. PERA is a financial framework introduced by the BSP, and made into law by RA 9505 otherwise known as PERA Act, Moyano said. For the E-Banking and E-Money and how to avoid related threats and scams, BSP banking experts relayed the various threats and scams prevailing in the banking operations including: the malpractices such as scheming and phishing.