Of Mamerto and Gen. Luna

Published February 12, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

This is a prologue of my piece last week about the on-going reorganization and restructuring of positions at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

I promised my muted sources last week that like them my lips are sealed up until the approval.

Now it can be shared. 

Between then and the disclosure, I love the way the work staff at the BSP hash-tagged incoming Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonon as “the name that cannot be mentioned.” 

Reminds me Voldemort, a character in Harry Potter. Because he’s feared in the wizarding world, Voldemort is the “you know who” and “the name that cannot be mentioned.”

In contrast to Voldemort, Mr. Mamerto is a digital financial expert, who up until his name

emerged as one of the outsiders that applied for the DepGov post is not feared in BSP. 

He worked closely with DepGov for financial services sector Chuchi Fonacier on E-Peso (InstaPay) and other financial inclusion programs aimed at bringing to 20 percent digital banking users. 

Prior to his minting, he was the chief of party of USAID here in the Philippines. He also worked with Smart in Indonesia and Globe Telecom here in the Philippines and developed one of the most preferred digital payment- the GCash. 

But, apparently, like Voldemort in the wizarding world, Mr. Mamerto’s name is a bit “feared” because he will be the take charge guy in Security Plant Complex (SPC). He will head the payments and currency management, which is part of the stronghold of Senior Assistant Governor (AG) Dahlia Luna as concurrent head of the SPC in Quezon City. 

Ms. Dahlia is “no if’s nor buts” personified and has earned the moniker “General Luna” due to her  strong adherence to the rules and regulations. The buzz exchanging between SPC and the main office along Roxas Blvd is that the General is abandoning her troops if she is not the minted one. “If I don’t get it, I will retire.” 

The General just turned 60 this January. She is eligible for an “optional” retirement. 

While everyone’s attention is on the DepGov, BSP Gov. Benjamin E. “BED” Diokno has promoted Amenah Pangandaman to AG. Resentment now rules the heart of some old timers at the BSP since it took them years of hard work and toil for their promotion. 

Although from what I’ve learned, she earned her brownie points being the head executive assistant of the late Senate President Edgardo Angara and DBM undersecretary. Still, BSPers believe “it’s too early, too soon.”

It took less than a couple of years for Ms. Menah to become AG. Her appointment brings to nine the number of AGs which include senior AG  Ramona Santiago and of course, Ms. Dahlia. 

Will General Luna make good her declaration? What happens to the candidacy of other two insiders – AGs Iluminda Sicat and Joy Lorico? Are they still on the race  for IT-Comptrollership DepGov?

What is certain, though, is there’s a bit of a long queue in the retirement window. 

This just in: The BSP is holding a webex event next Friday February 19. Dubbed as Ulat ng BSP: Central Banking for Filipinos, the event is actually an online version of the annual banking community cocktail. Gov. BED and the members of the Monetary Board will be making their report on the year past and what lies ahead. 

Meanwhile, enjoy the long weekend. Kung Hei Fat Choi! 

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