ON THE occasion of the 12th Anniversary of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr., upon receiving the baton from outgoing Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura, dutifully looked back and gave his predecessor proper acknowledgment. He said:

“As he [Gov. Buenaventura] finishes his term, he leaves a legacy that, while towering, is at the same time edifying and inspiring for us to continue the tradition of excellence and hard work in the BSP.”

Accordingly, laying out in bold strokes the general directors of his incoming leadership, Governor Tetangco, committed:

“We shall also intensify the social dimensions of BSP policy. Foremost in this is our advocacy for microfinance…. We shall also pursue economic and financial literacy program to reach out to our consumers, investors, overseas Filipino workers and their beneficiaries to help expand their options of where to put their money and ensure their economic future.”

Last week, on 27 January, 2010, in Governor Tetangco’s keynote address at the 2009-2010 FINEX-CITI Rafael B. Buenaventura Outstanding Finance Educator Awards, the specifics of how BSP was pursuing its program to propagate financial literary in the country were laid out. Quote the Governor:

“African leader Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.” We are in complete agreement with him. This is the reason why we at the Bangko Sentral fully support this awards program for outstanding finance educators. We believe that financial education is a powerful empowering tool for the economic and social advancement of our people and our country.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have seen from the global economic crisis how financial missteps and misconduct can generate consequences that can be so hard and painful on millions of people. We should therefore work together to promote and strengthen finance education with particular emphasis on the value of good governance. Within and beyond the borders of academic institutions, we need to be consistent advocates not only of promoting knowledge of finance but also of the good governance tenets of fairness, accountability, transparency, and social responsibility.

In schools, educators have the opportunity to mold young minds to become knowledgeable and to become adherents of time-honored values of integrity and professionalism.

At work, leaders of banks and financial institutions have the power and the responsibility to reinforce the value of good governance among their employees not only through words, but by walking their governance talk.

Indeed, values education should always be a part of our life whether we are at home, in school, or at work. Let us always remember that it is the convergence of knowledge and proper values that produce positive results that improve lives.

At the Bangko Sentral, we live by the same philosophy of improving lives through continuing economic and financial education programs. Thus, we have an inclusive and proactive economic and financial education program that provides lessons on saving, investing, and money management for our elementary pupils from Grade I to Grade VI…to overseas Filipinos and their dependents, to entrepreneurial individuals who venture into microfinance, and to our small-and medium-scale entrepreneurs who are in search of credit to finance their business.

Parallel to this, we continue to enhance our support infrastructure for financial education. For instance, we have expanded public access to financial information through the Bangko Sentral website. We have also set up Economic and Financial Learning Centers not only here in Manila but in our regional offices and branches as well. We also have a dedicated team of BSP personnel in our Financial Consumer Affairs Group to address consumer concerns and hold information caravans to promote consumer education.

We have also created a Consumer Education Committee and forged a partnership with the inter-agency group, ConsumerNet, to strengthen our information campaigns on consumer rights. Equally important, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas continues to produce textbooks written by our own hands-on central bankers to share lessons learned: the first is “Money and Banking: Perspectives from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas” and the second is “Bangko Sentral and the Philippine Economy.” The latest is our 530-page book “Central Banking in Challenging Times: The Philippine Experience” which we launched only this month.

Through these initiatives, we hope to provide an equal chance for our people to gain access to the empowering effects of financial education.

At this point, I would like to acknowledge our strong partnership with banks and other institutions in raising the level of financial and economic education in the country. In particular, Finex Foundation and Citi Foundation are two institutions that have been consistently at the forefront of this endeavor. To Finex Foundation headed by Eduardo Francisco and to Citi headed by Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra, we thank you for your untiring efforts to help make finance education a cornerstone for economic and social advancement in the Philippines…

To the outstanding finance educators who are here with us today as finalists, we commend all of you for strengthening finance education in the Philippines. Let us give all of them a well-deserved round of applause!

American historian Henry Brooks Adams once said, and I quote: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” This brings to mind the person for whom this awards program is named after.

Gob Paeng is now longer with us, but his positive influence lives on. The man’s enduring legacy to us – his expert leadership, vision and genuine passion for education – inspires us to recognize and award exemplary individuals who embody those same qualities. And so, on behalf of everyone here today, I congratulate all our finalists and winners who are the best among finance educators in our country today.

Let us also congratulate the schools that nurture and support them in being the best they can be. Let us also give them a big hand. May your tribe increase and empower more Filipinos to have better lives through finance education!”

A fitting tribute to Gob Paeng way in advance of his birthday anniversary this coming August.

For feedback, e-mail reynaldo.geronimo@romulo.com.