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Paradigm shift


Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

Yes, there’s a fundamental change going right now at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) with the assumption of former Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin “Ben” Diokno as its fifth governor.

Paradigm shift, a concept identified by Thomas Kuhn, an American physicist and philosopher, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. Cambridge dictionary defines it as a time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something changes completely.

Early bird or workaholic. The BSP is undergoing certain changes in working style. For one, to keep him abreast of market events and other related issues, Gov. Ben has requested that news clippings be at his desk at 7:30 a.m. He comes in before the clock strikes 7 a.m. The BSP practices a four-day work-week schedule, rendering 12 hours services a day, “and Governor Diokno is always early,” according to one comment I heard.

Lest I may be misunderstood here, I am not saying that his predecessors were not early birds. Of course, they all were. They even are tuned in on market developments here and abroad for any crucial happenings offshore which may have a cascading effect on the country. They were quick to use Viber and SMS. Text message was an effective communication tool that started way back during the term, 1999-2005, of BSP Gov. Rafael Carlos B. Buenaventura, which was adopted by his successors – Gov. Tetangco and Espenilla.

In his maiden press conference as the new BSP steward, his aides said that Gov. Ben has allocated time for only four questions and no ambush interviews allowed. I commend the BSP press corps and non-members as well for their discipline and adhering to these parameters. I would have wanted to raise a fifth question to the fifth BSP governor but I refrained. “I will be less accessible… because of the sensitivity (of the position),” was his explanation.
Or he is just being fastidious here – granting interviews to a select practitioners like Margaux Salcedo, a food and traveler writer, and Cathy Yang of ANC, where he said a mouthful that reverberated in the market Tuesday.

Honeymoon period: It’s been a week since he assumed and he has yet to conduct a briefing solely for his press corps, which is his first line of defense for his reflections and messages on any unfolding market developments. As DBM Secretary, he had answered to texted queries. I tried this route. But I’ve yet to receive a response to two queries answerable by yes or no. Can no longer wait as our editorial assistant, Eli, is already bugging me on my deadline. I guess, Governor Ben has some much on his plate right now – processing, reflecting, and assessing the best balancing path to take.

An open line of communication and having good relationship with the fourth estate is essential. BSP Deputy Diwa Guinigundo, in his speech at the induction of new officers of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines last month, said: “Perspective and reflections are essential to achieve a greater understanding of the meaning of what they are reporting about. While we undertake our own public information campaigns, we also partner with the media to help us communicate and disseminate our policy decisions and actions to the general public.”

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