The BSP in times of calamities-A A +A
Sunday, September 1, 2013
TWO weeks ago, the whole Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces were at a standstill due to the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Maring and the southwest monsoon.
Classes were suspended and offices remained closed almost the whole week as thoroughfares were flooded.
Following Malacañan’s announcement to call off work in government offices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) enforced a work suspension for its employees within the affected areas.
This did not mean, however, that all work stopped at the BSP.
The BSP may not directly participate in disaster reduction and management activities, but it performs activities which are just as crucial in times of emergencies.
One such activity is the supply of the currency requirements of banks. This function is discharged by the Bangko Sentral’s Cash Department.
The Cash Department opened its doors to banks last August 21 - a non-working holiday - so that banks could replenish the cash in their automated teller machines (ATMs), following two days of torrential rains.
Even before the floodwaters receded, the Cash Department worked full force to attend to the withdrawals of banks. Support was provided by the Banknotes and Securities Printing Department which made sure banknotes were properly packed and ready for distribution.
The BSP recognizes that the public needed access to cash more than ever, to spend for food, transportation, repairs, and emergency.
Apart from responding to currency supply concerns, the BSP continuously monitors and measures the economic impact of weather disturbances especially as they affect demand and supply of goods and their prices. This is done in coordination with other government agencies such as PAGASA, National Food Authority, Energy Department, NEDA, and the Price Coordinating Council headed by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The data are utilized to determine whether the monthly forecast will be within the inflation target.
Immediately after natural disasters and similar calamities, the Bangko Sentral also assesses the needs of banks in afflicted areas.
As the situation warrants, the BSP provides targetted and temporary regulatory relief to affected banks, including but not limited to liberalization of payment terms for rediscounting facilities.
The objective is to enable banks in affected areas to accommodate loans by typhoon stricken individuals.
Needless to say, it is always all hands on deck for offices which are responsible for the security of BSP facilities.
Like the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, in times of emergencies the BSP is also “Laging Handa.”
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