THIS July 3, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will be 22 years old. When the architects of our legislature enacted Republic Act (RA) 7653, which was signed into law by then President Fidel V. Ramos, they envisioned “an independent central monetary authority” that would “discharge its mandated responsibilities concerning money, banking and credit.”

RA 7653 defined the primary objective of the Bangko Sentral as follows: “to maintain price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable growth of the economy.” BSP was also tasked to “promote and maintain monetary stability and the convertibility of the peso.”

Over the years, BSP has performed its legal responsibilities well above expectations. The awards conferred on Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. (and even his predecessors Gabriel Singson and Rafael Buenaventura) and the BSP as an institution are a testament to how well the BSP has discharged its mandate.

Surveys after surveys have confirmed BSP’s status as one of the most, if not the most, respected public institutions in the country today.

But 22 years after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was established, the financial landscape has significantly changed. Even our legislative leaders acknowledge that “the economic milieu in the Philippines has changed, globalization has increased the integration of financial markets and the scope of operations of financial institutions has evolved.”

Thus, it is about time that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas be retro-fitted or upgraded, so to speak, to enable it to adequately cope with the changes and maintain its global competitiveness.

With these in mind, both Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (together with co-sponsor Nelson Collantes) and Senate President Franklin Drilon have introduced separate proposed amendments to the BSP charter.

In a nutshell, the proposed amendments seek to:

1. Strengthen BSPs monetary stability function

2. Strengthen BSPs financial stability function, and

3. Strengthen BSPs corporate and financial viability.

All very well said.

At that time, it WAS re-assuring that President Aquino included the amendment of the BSP charter as one of the priority bills during the second regular session of the 16th Congress.

I speak in the past tense because after all the seemingly interminable media-hugging investigations conducted by both houses, the really important task of revisiting the BSP charter has been relegated to the background.

As crafted by Messrs. Drilon, Belmonte and Collantes, the proposed charter revisions are “camera ready” and “good to go.” What is just needed is for our legislators to set aside some quality time to discuss BSP and act accordingly.

Unfortunately, time is running out. With the onset of the election fever, we can expect re-electionists to take to the campaign trail. Those whose terms are expiring probably would have their minds elsewhere.

As one legislative observer predicts: The proposed amendment to the BSP charter is likely to join the “Mona Lisa bills” -- so-called because as the popular refrain went “they just lie there and they die there.”

And what a crying shame!

Motor vehicle owners who like their vehicles always in tip top shape send them to shops for regular maintenance checks. After 22 years of exceptional performance, why can’t we schedule its first maintenance check for the BSP -- one of the best government vehicles we have around.

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