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Diokno is optimistic that Medalla will continue BSP’s game-changing reforms.

Benjamin Diokno, the finance secretary, stated on Monday that he is confident Felipe Medalla, the new governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will carry on the revolutionary changes he introduced while serving as the institution’s previous leader. These include the BSP’s rapid transition to digitalization and other initiatives that have kept it “agile and innovative” in the face of the crisis brought on by the pandemic and other financial system challenges.

Diokno described the period of uncertainty at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic when he was BSP governor and how the institution provided “a sense of confidence and predictability” during this time in his first speech as Finance Secretary at the BSP’s 29th anniversary and turnover ceremony.

According to Diokno, the BSP continued to provide crucial financial services throughout these tough times and maintained a keen awareness of the needs of its fellow Filipinos by offering debt relief, encouraging lending, and easing access to new financial services.

For banks, money changers, and other BSP-supervised institutions, he continued, “it has remained business as usual” even in the midst of an epidemic.

We had a situation unlike any other and had no emergency response manual to turn to. But we didn’t lose sight of the target. We continued to be flexible and creative. We increased market optimism. Diokno stated that we took exceptional liquidity measures.

In order to aid sectors hit by the pandemic and protect consumers from unethical and fraudulent financial schemes, the BSP also collaborated closely with other agencies and stakeholders to get financial reforms, such as the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act and the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act, passed in Congress.

The BSP’s role in the adoption of the Gold Law, the Philippine Identification System Act, the Islamic Banking Law, and the BSP charter modifications made before the pandemic were also mentioned by Diokno.

He claimed that the BSP adopted cautious monetary policies and increased possibilities to promote financial inclusion and digital payments among Filipinos.

In spite of growing inflation, “we have maintained a patient hand on our monetary policy levers to allow our economic recovery to get a solid footing,” Diokno said.

As a consequence of effective banking sector legislation, a strong supervisory framework, good corporate governance, and proper risk management techniques, he continued, “our banking system continues to be sound and stable.”

Diokno expressed his faith in the incoming BSP Governor and stated that he was certain Medalla will take the central bank’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap to substantial advancements.

“We and the Filipino people still have a lot of advancements in store. No matter what hat we wear, you and I have a lot to contribute to serving our country, Diokno remarked.

He said, “I am certain that you will continue to implement game-changing changes and bring the BSP even closer to the Filipino people under the leadership of your new team captain, Governor Medalla, and the Monetary Board.

Under his leadership, according to Diokno, the BSP promoted green finance, investigated the viability and potential policy ramifications of launching a central bank digital currency, and issued the country’s first polymer notes.

In order to accommodate work-from-home arrangements, the BSP quickly shifted to cloud-based communication technologies, which boosted its effectiveness during the pandemic lockdowns, according to Diokno.

Looking at things more broadly, Diokno claimed that the pandemic had sped up innovation and digitalization of BSP goods and services.

Some of these involve doing procurement activities online, submitting bids electronically, and making the most of e-documents, e-signatures, and even e-payments.

In the BSP, we have our own variation of “Build, Build, Build.” We extended our current facilities and erected new ones despite the pandemic’s difficulties, Diokno added.

Not many people are aware of this, but we also have an electronic security modernization project that aims to improve BSP security operations through the use of cutting-edge security technology that is completely integrated and complies with international standards.

Through a single command center, the project seeks to integrate security technologies across all BSP regional offices and branches.

In addition to maximizing the central bank’s security personnel, Diokno hopes it will “have real-time data and video analytics for speedier decision-making and quicker response, rescue and recovery activities, if and when needed.”

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