On March 7, 2019, Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno took over the helm of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as its governor. Likening the BSP to the flagship of the Philippine economy, Gov. Diokno has a lot of navigational skills to back him up: Masteral degrees in public administration and economics, and master of arts in political economy, from the University of the Philippines and the John Hopkins University, respectively, and a Ph.D in Economics from Syracuse University. These academic attainments were further honed to cutting-edge by his tenure as undersecretary and, subsequently, as secretary in the Department of Budget and Management, by his professorial experience at the University of the Philippines, and by a multitude of other responsibilities as adviser, consultant and director or chairman in various enterprises.
He is now captain in charge as the BSP continues with its course towards price and financial stability, amidst the tides of inflation, the winds stemming from financial market risks, and shifting currents brought by domestic and international developments. The crew themselves are confident that he will keep a steady and firm hand, as he was warmly welcomed by them during the occasions where they met each other. On his part, he exhorted unity and teamwork for them to achieve the BSP vision and mission with the Filipino people always in mind.
The new governor also announced that he will continue with an itinerary centered on financial inclusion, financial learning and consumer protection, with the aim of making financial services more accessible to the larger population. Internally, he also assured that there will be a premium on employee welfare, and that he desires to create a better work environment through modernization. As one BSP official said, Gov. Diokno’s direction is not only “continuity, plus, plus,” but “continuity plus, plus, and plus more.” It would aptly describe the staff’s feeling of optimism on the coming in of the new governor.
What could also be positively material to the new governor is the broader horizon brought about by the recent passage of amendments to the BSP charter, under Republic Act No. 11211. For one, the law strengthened the BSP with its increased capitalization. It also expanded the BSP’s regulatory framework to cover not only banks, their affiliates and subsidiaries, but also money service businesses, credit granting businesses and payment system operators, with increased enforcement actions against all these institutions. This law also invested the BSP with an important tool in its open market operations by authorizing BSP to issue and negotiate its own securities. For more effective monetary policy formulation, the law further empowered BSP to require from any person or entity any data for statistical and policy development purposes needed for the proper discharge of its functions and responsibilities.
Also taking cognizance that the BSP, under both the Constitution and the law, steers its course as an independent central monetary authority, Gov. Diokno announced: “Let me also assure you that the BSP will sustain its institutional independence with the Monetary Board acting as a collegial body. We shall continue to pursue monetary and financial sector policies that are data driven, evidence-based, and attend to the evolving market environment.”
This column welcomes and appreciates very well the foregoing statements of Gov. Diokno and wishes him, as the new captain of the BSP, all the best!
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The above comments are the personal views of the writer.
His email address is [email protected]