By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
To have more funds in the fight against COVID-19, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and transport agencies advance ₱30 billion to government to help fight COVID-19.
The BSP will remit ₱20 billion to the National Government as dividends instead of keeping it as reserves for its capital buildup.
BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno, the Duterte administration’s former budget chief, was set to deposit the ₱20 billion yesterday (March 26) as direct credit to the Treasurer of the Philippines- Treasurer Single Account.
“We are one government,” said Diokno. “We are one Filipino nation.” He said that the BSP will continue to support the govern¬ment to defeat what he called a “once-in-a-lifetime pandemic” to “keep the economy afloat.”
The ₱20 billion is based on a projected ₱23 billion BSP net in¬come for 2020. The 2019 financial statement is still unaudited but as of end-November, the BSP’s latest net income is ₱40.24 billion.
The central bank explained that the amount was already about 87 percent of the estimated total dividends based on the BSP’s unaudited financial statements for the year 2020.
The BSP’s amended charter which was approved by President Duterte on February 14, 2019 after more than two decades of lobbying, no longer require the BSP to pay dividends to the NG. As stated by Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7653, as amended by RA 11211 (2019) – “any and all declared dividends of the BSP in favor of the NG shall be released and disbursed immediately for the payment of the BSP’s increase in capitalization.”
The amended central bank charter increased the BSP’s capitalization from ₱50 billion to ₱200 billion which will be solely funded by its dividends starting from its 2019 net income.
“The BSP has and is ready to employ the necessary tools in its arsenal to address the impact of COVID-19 while staying true to its mandate,” said Diokno.
In the last two weeks in its bid to help the Duterte administration have all the funding it will need to contain the coronavirus spread, the BSP has done the following: arranged to buy ₱300 billion worth of government securities as another form of emergency financing for the NG; released ₱225 billion into the financial system that banks are keeping as reserve requirement with the BSP; and cut the interest rates by a total 75 basis points as another stimulus support.
Earlier this month, the BSP announced that it has fully paid the ₱21.48 billion dividends to the NG which
was the biggest payment since the BSP was established in 1993. The ₱21.48 billion dividends came from the central bank’s 2018 net income of ₱39.85 billion.
With the ₱20 billion, has BSP has remitted ₱46.96 billion to the government of President Du¬terte.
Meantime, the country’s mari¬time and aviation agencies are set to remit today (March 27, 2020) P10 billion to the national coffers to help government combat the Covid19 pandemic.
Of this amount, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will remit ₱4 Billion dividends in advance to the Department of Finance (DOF).
On the other hand, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Au¬thority of the Philippines (CAAP) are remitting ₱3 billion each.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered the three attached agencies to remit their dividends in advance to fund the government’s campaign against COVID-19, as well as other state projects.
The Trsnsport Secretary gave the order to the 3 DOTr attached agencies this Wednesday (March 25) during a strategic analysis session to map out measures for the country’s aviation sector in the ongoing enhanced commu¬nity quarantine being enforced in Luzon.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the lockdown of Luzon al¬most two weeks ago to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are now engaged in a war against COVID-19 and the government needs to muster every financial support it can get to contain and eliminate this deadly disease,” Tugade announced.
“We at the DOTr are throwing our support to this effort and to make sure that we as a country survives to see victory in this war against an invisible but very dangerous enemy.”