CDA conducts orientation on IRR-Financial Consumer Protection Act

The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) brought together around 1,800 cooperative
leaders, members, and CDA personnel for the conduct of an orientation on Memorandum Circular 2023–14, also known as CDA Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11765 or the “Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA)” on October 17, 2023. The activity was conducted virtually, allowing cooperatives offering financial products or services from all corners of the Philippines to participate.

The Republic Act 11765, signed into law on May 6, 2022, is a legislative policy aimed at ensuring that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect the interests of consumers of financial products and services under the conditions of transparency, fair and sound market conduct, and fair, reasonable, and effective handling of financial consumer disputes, which are aligned with global best practices. These mechanisms reinforce their confidence in the financial market and foster the stability of the Philippine financial system. As authorized by RA 11765, the CDA, through Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2023-14, issued its own standard and rules for the application of the provisions to specific financial products or services offered by the CDA-Regulated Entities (CDAREs).

Assistant Secretary Luz H. Yringco, Head of the Finance Cooperatives Cluster, ignited the flames of aspiration of the cooperative as she emphasized in her opening and inspirational message that together, we can serve the needs and uplift the lives of the cooperative members. She also encouraged everyone to embrace this new law as this gives confidence to members that their interests are not only protected but are of the utmost concern of the cooperatives.

CDA Chairperson Undersecretary Joseph B. Encabo graced the occasion, underscoring the
cooperatives’ stand on the threshold of change driven by their shared commitment for the welfare of their members and the prosperity of the nation. He also expressed that the cooperatives’ compliance with the FCPA would illuminate the path toward a brighter and more secure financial future for every Filipino.

For her part, Atty. Ma. Lourdes P. Pacao, Deputy Administrator of CSF Service provided the
overview of RA 11765 and the objectives of the orientations. She mentioned that the orientation aimed to discuss the salient features of the IRR particularly the duties and responsibilities of the CDA-regulated entities (CDAREs); guidelines on market conduct surveillance and examination; financial consumer protection assistance framework in the CDAREs; framework in the handling of complaints before the authority; adjudication powers of the CDA; and enforcement and administrative sanctions.

The topics mentioned were discussed by Ms. Josie Villaver, Supervising CDS of the Inspection and Examination Division (IED), Ms. Jo Ann C. Gamboa, Chief CDS of the IED, and Atty. Ma. Caridad D. Graza, Chief of the Adjudication Division.

The orientation fostered an environment of collaborative learning allowing participants to seek clarification on some provisions of the law and, at the same time share current self-regulation practices and consumer welfare mechanisms. Likewise, the orientation, as articulated by the participants, provided awareness to CDAREs of their accountabilities to maintain fair prices and good quality of their products and services and disclose accurate, unbiased information about such products and services.

The members of the technical working group who crafted the IRR are Atty. Ma. Lourdes P. Pacao, Atty. Elizabeth O. Batonan, Deputy Administrator, RSES; Atty. Leah B. Banagui-Han, Deputy Administrator, LAS; Atty. Jovilyn Gaffud-Marquez, Regional Director, Region II Extension Office; Ms. Mildred S. Esguerra, Director, RSES; Mr. Joselito O. Hallazgo, Acting Director, CSFS; and Ms. Doris Teodoro, Chief, SED. The said TWG members likewise acted as panelists during the open forum who ably addressed queries and requests for clarifications of the participants.

The IRR is a progressive framework that acknowledges the changing landscape of the Philippine economy and society. It encourages cooperatives to adopt new technologies and models, ensuring that they remain compliant with governmental regulations while enhancing their competitiveness, growth, and relevance in the digital age.

This virtual orientation on MC 2023-14 was only the first of the many orientations to be conducted by the Authority, as the Regional Extension Offices are expected to conduct the same orientation for the cooperatives under their jurisdiction.