FINANCE Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Monday he is confident that new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Felipe Medalla will continue the game-changing reforms implemented in the agency, which include its rapid shift to digitalization and other measures that has kept it “agile and innovative” amid the pandemic-induced crisis and other challenges to the country’s financial system.

In his first speech as Finance secretary at the BSP’s 29th anniversary and turnover ceremony, Diokno recounted the time of uncertainties at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when he was BSP governor, and how the institution provided “a sense of confidence and predictability” during this period.

Diokno said that through these trying times, the BSP ensured the continuity of much-needed financial services and remained sensitive to the needs of its fellow Filipinos by providing financial relief, incentivizing lending, and facilitating access to more financial services.

He pointed out that even in the midst of a pandemic, “it has remained business as usual” for banks, money changers, and other BSP-supervised institutions.

“We have gone through a crisis like no other, with no emergency response playbook to which we could refer. But we kept our eyes on the ball. We remained agile and innovative. We boosted market confidence. We implemented extraordinary liquidity measures,” Diokno said.

The BSP has also worked closely with other agencies and stakeholders in getting financial reforms such as the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act and the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act passed in Congress to provide relief to pandemic-hit sectors and safeguard consumers from unethical and fraudulent financial schemes.

Diokno also cited the BSP’s hand in the approval of the Gold Law, the Philippine Identification System Act, the Islamic Banking Law, and the amendments to the BSP charter prior to the pandemic.

He said the BSP acted prudently in issuing monetary policies and expanded opportunities to boost digital payments and financial inclusion among Filipinos.

“We have kept a patient hand on our monetary policy levers in the face of rising inflation to allow our economic recovery to gain a stronger foothold,” Diokno said.

“Our banking sector continues to be sound and stable—the result of good corporate governance and appropriate risk management practices, as well as sound banking sector regulations and a robust supervisory framework,” he added.

Acknowledging his confidence in the new BSP governor, Diokno said he is certain that the central bank’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap will make significant strides under Medalla’s leadership.

“There are many more improvements in store for us and for the Filipino people. You and I have so much to offer in the service of our country regardless of what hat we wear,” Diokno said.

“I am confident that with the leadership of your new team captain—Governor Medalla—and the Monetary Board, you will continue to deliver game-changing reforms and bring the BSP even closer to the Filipino people,” he added. (PR)