By Lee C. Chipongian
Citizen Say, a nickname Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando “Say” Tetangco Jr. referred to himself on the day left his post with his confidence for the BSP intact and his former teamates in a “new mindset” with a “more holistic lens in the conduct of surveillance and the crafting of policy.”
“So far, so good. Looking ahead, I see the BSP successfully pursuing its mandate to help provide stability and promote sustained growth of our economy through monetary and banking policies,” said Tetangco on his farewell speech before the BSP crowd on July 3.
On Monday, incoming BSP chief Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. officially stepped into Tetangco’s shoes.
Tetangco said the BSP “is ready” for what will come next. “It is nimble enough to be able to adapt to the changes in its operating environment. We have built capacity among our people, streamlined processes, leveraged off technology as appropriate, and inculcated an overall sense of good governance and accountability in all that we do.”
The BSP, which credit rating agency S&P Ratings said “has a record of supporting sustainable economic growth and responding appropriately to changing economic circumstances” and recognized by foreign award-conferring publications as an outstanding central bank, has been juggling inflation, monetary stability and economic growth amid an un uncertain global landscape.
Tetangco highlighted the BSP’s performance under his 12-year governorship: it achieved a low and stable inflation conducive to sustained economic growth by adopting data-driven and forward looking policies; a sound, stable and liquid banking system that is well-capitalized and supports the financing needs of our economy particularly the productive sectors; operating a safe and reliable payments system that minimizes possible systemic risks and inspires confidence in our financial system; nurtured a strong external position that provides buffers to potential shocks to the economy and the financial system; and implementing a comprehensive agenda for financial inclusion to ensure inclusive growth that improves the quality of life of Filipinos.
According to Tetangco, the most important change in the last decade was the transformation of the local economy from “sick man of Asia” into a “rising tiger economy.”
“In cooperation with other institutions, we have achieved the ideal convergence of low inflation amid high economic growth. Definitely, the size of the economy has been expanding – from an average GDP growth of 4.9 percent from 2005 to 2010, growth went up to an average of 6.1 per cent in 2011 to 2016 and reached 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017. On the other hand, inflation averaged 5.2 percent in my first six years as Governor (from 2005 to 2010) and dropped to three percent in my second term (2011 to 2016). From January to May this year, inflation has remained stable and averaged 3.1 percent,” he said.
Under his term, Tetangco said Philippine banks became stronger in size with P14 trillion in total resources, as well a more enabled capitalization and networks.
The former BSP chief also emphasized the growth of its PhilPASS operations which started in 2002 with just 5,685 transactions to 419,455 valued at P78.7 trillion by the end of March this year.
He mentioned the growth of the country’s gross international reserves at $18.5 billion and the decrease in external debt to GDP ratio of 59.7 percent in 2005 to 24 percent by the end of the first quarter 2017.
And lastly, he said the Philippines’ investment grade status in the last four years is another important highlight. “Major international credit rating agencies (Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P) uniformly acknowledge the BSP as one of the institutional pillars that generates positive marks for the country.”
Tetangco said he is happy that Espenilla – with his support – is now in charge of the central bank.
“With Gov Nesting’s deep knowledge of the BSP – its history, mandate, organization, and corporate culture – he can certainly hit the ground running. I have worked closely with him and I can tell you that Gov Nesting is a top-notch central banker and a man of integrity, who has what it takes to excel as the BSP’s new leader,” he extolled.
With Espenilla as the new chairman of the Monetary Board, the BSP also has three new board members – former Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. CEO and president Antonio Abacan, former trade and industry secretary and banker Peter Favila and former National Economic and Development Authority head and economist Dr. Philip Medalla. Both Favila and Medalla are re-appointees to the Monetary Board. The seven-man Monetary Board also includes Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, former BSP deputy governor Juan de Zuniga Jr. and former Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. president Valentin Araneta.
Tetangco served the government for 43 years. “As I leave the BSP as citizen Say, I will not say goodbye. Instead, I will say… until we meet again.”
Tags: Amando M. Tetangco, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BSP Anniversary, BSP TOKEN OF APPRECIATION, Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., ‘I leave the BSP in capable hands and up to the challenges ahead’ – Tetangco