Probe Eyed on Banks’ Outsourcing

MANILA — Saying that the outsourcing of banking functions has led to the displacement of thousands of bank employees, Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano today urged the House Committee on Labor and Employment to immediately conduct an inquiry into the legal basis of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-issued circulars that allowed the outsourcing of banking functions.

House Resolution 757 filed by Mariano seeks to determine the impact of BSP Circular No. 268 and succeeding circulars which allowed the outsourcing of banking functions and determine its impacts on the security of tenure of bank and financial institution employees and come up with policy recommendations to delineate the powers of the BSP and protect the rights of employees to job security.

The BSP issued Circular No. 268 on December 5, 2000 which allowed the outsourcing of bank functions such as IT Systems/Processing, Data Imaging, Storage and Retrieval, Clearing and Processing of Checks, Printing of Bank Deposit Statements, Credit Card Services, Printing of Bank Loan Statements, Credit Investigation and Collection, Processing of Export, Import and Other Trading Transactions, Messengerial, Courier and Postal Services, Security Guard Services and Vehicle Service Contracts.

“Instead of generating jobs and protecting bank employees’ right to job security, BSP Circular No. 268 would lead to the dislocation of bank employees,” Mariano said.

HR 757 cited that the “BSP issued succeeding circulars that widened the scope of banking functions that may be outsourced, endangering the job security of thousand of regular bank and financial institution employees.”

It said that “Section 55.1 (e) of Republic Act No. 8791 or the General Banking Act which was cited by the BSP as the basis of issuing these circulars, does not say anything that allows contractualization of the
enumerated banking functions.”

“The banking functions enumerated in the circulars are considered core job positions and must not be contractualized based on Department of Labor and Employment’s Order No. 18-02 (D.O. No. 18-02) which states that jobs that are usually necessary and desirable in the usual trade or business cannot be contracted out.”

“Outsourcing these banking functions has led to the displacement of thousand of bank employees and therefore violated the provision stated in D.O. No. 18-02 that contractualization cannot be carried out if it will cause the displacement of regular rank-and-file employees,” Mariano said in HR 757.

Mariano, along with Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino, Gabriela Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan, said that “there is a need to inquire whether or not the BSP is usurping
the powers of the legislature in issuing the circulars.”

“The said circulars are affecting some of the country’s largest banking institutions like Philippine National Bank (PNB), Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Planters Bank, Veterans Bank and others. Based on the said circulars, it would appear that the remaining functions that cannot be outsourced are managerial functions,” the resolution said.

The resolution also stressed that “the continuing implementation of the circulars on outsourcing of banking functions gravely affects the right of bank employees on security of tenure, right to organization and right to collectively assert their demands for higher wages and benefits.”

Mariano also said that “aside from infringing job security of bank employees, the practice of outsourcing core bank functions and operations violates the Republic Act No. 1405 or Bank Deposits’ Secrecy Law.

The Bank Deposits’ Secrecy Law states that “all deposits of whatever nature with banks in the Philippines, including investments in government bonds, as of an absolutely confidential nature and prohibits the examination or inquiry into such deposits or investments by any person, government official, bureau or office, as well as the disclosure by any official or employee of a bank of any information concerning said deposits.”

Banking and Financial Unions, an association of unions of bank employees, has filed a petition signed by thousands of bank employees, against BSP Circular 268 before the BSP.

“The BSP has refused to recall the circulars it had issued on outsourcing amidst the petition submitted by the Banking and Financial Unions against BSP Circular 268 on July 18, 2008,” the resolution said.

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