US Banks Shut Down
Remittance Programs Due To RISING FEES
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has expressed “deep concern” over the recent moves of United States banks to restrict the use of their facilities for international money transfers in response to regulatory pressure from the US government.
“In particular, a plan to increase remittance fees would adversely impact on the millions of Filipinos in the United States who regularly send money to their families in the Philippines,” Binay said in a letter to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr.
He is the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns.
Binay is optimistic as the BSP will look for solutions to mitigate the impact of the recent developments.
According to the New York Times, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup have scrapped programs that allowed migrant workers to send money back to their families at a reduced cost, in response to increased regulation.
The increased regulation is part of the US government’s efforts to curb money laundering activities after a series of money-laundering scandals.
In 2012, HSBC was accused of failing to monitor more than $670 billion in wire transfers and more than $9.4 billion in purchases of US currency from HSBC Mexico.
HSBC admitted to laundering money for drug cartels and agreed to pay a $1.9 billion settlement to avoid lawsuit.
The US has been the biggest source of OFW remittances in recent years, with almost $10 billion remitted to the country in 2013 alone.
TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION,
IS TO CLIP THE POWER OF THE JUDICIARY
Those advising the President to pursue a course that will lead to a frontal confrontation with the Supreme Court are bringing our country to the brink of a political and constitutional crisis. They are also putting peril in the President’s chance to leave a positive legacy to the people. In doing so, they invoke the name of public interest. To blur the delineation between their selfish interest and public interest is dangerous and despotic.
Checks and balances are the foundations of democracy. When the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional, it was in exercise of its power and duty as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution ratified during the time of President Cory Aquino.
The Constitution is quite explicit when it reposed on the judiciary not only the power but also the duty “to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government.” This is included precisely to prevent a situation where the judiciary bends to the wills of one branch, or of one man as was the case during martial law.
As one of those who fought for freedom and democracy during martial law, I appreciate the powers vested in the Supreme Court by the 1987 Constitution. It enshrines the hopes of the millions of Filipinos who made the 1986 Edsa Revolution possible for a strong judicial institution as the best safeguard against dictatorship in whatever form.
Binay firmly believes, a democracy obligates the three co-equal branches - executive, judiciary and legislature - to respect each one’s independence and recognize each one’s powers, duties and limitations set by the Constitution. A healthy democracy will benefit the people.
He prays for sober reflection to restrain abrupt political initiatives. We must never allow purely partisan considerations to erode the institutions that guarantee our freedoms. /MP