PH Central Bank Chief Espenilla passes away at 60

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2019   •   1759

The late BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr

MANILA, Philippines – Governor and Monetary Board Chairman Nestor Espenilla Jr., passed away on Saturday after succumbing to cancer, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) confirmed on Sunday. He was 60.

“It is with deep sadness that the Monetary Board announced that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor and Chairman of the Monetary Board Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. peacefully passed away on 23 February 2019 surrounded by members of his family,” BSP said in a statement.

Espenilla had been battling tongue cancer for more than a year and had been on intermittent leave to undergo surgery and radiation therapy.

Espenilla was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2017 to supposedly head the central bank for six years.

He also served as ex-officio chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Philippine International Convention Center and the Financial Stability Coordination Council.

BSP said that under his leadership, the agency “continued to pursue major reforms under the theme ‘Continuity Plus Plus’ covering monetary and financial policies, as well as the BSP organizational structure.”

Espenilla started his four-decade career in the central bank with debt analysis. In 2005, he was appointed as BSP deputy governor for supervision and examination sector, in charge of disciplining banks.

Meanwhile, Malacañang on Sunday thanked Espenilla for his “complete devotion to his work and great service to the nation”.

“As we express our condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and loved ones of Governor Espenilla, we express our gratitude to the man once in charge of disciplining banks for his complete devotion to his work and great service to the nation,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo noted that the late official “was best remembered by the ordinary Juan de la Cruz for making financial services closer to Filipinos who – we are all aware — transact mostly using non-bank channels.”

Espenilla pioneered an electronic fund transfer system called InstaPay and an automated clearing house dubbed PESONet under a broader regulatory framework, the National Retail Payment System.

These “saw the Philippines’ gradual shift from cash and check-based payment to electronic means,” Panelo said.

“Rest in peace, Governor Nesting,” he added.

BSP said that in a special meeting held on Saturday, the “Monetary Board designated Deputy Governor Almasara Cyd Tuano-Amador as BSP Officer-in-Charge (OIC) effective immediately until such time that President Rodrigo Duterte shall have designated an OIC or appointed a successor.”

Espenilla is survived by his wife, Maria Teresita Festin Espenilla; daughter, Jacqueline Joyce, and son-in-law, Ben Baltazar; sons Nikko Nestor and Leonardo Nestor; and, grandchild, Zev Eron.

The details of the viewing will be announced later, the BSP added. – Robie de Guzman

BSP warns public vs unauthorized Instagram account

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday warned the public against an unauthorized account, bearing central bank’s name and logo, on the photo-sharing app Instagram.

In an advisory, the BSP said the account “bangko_sentral_lottery” is confirmed to be a scam and is not associated with the central bank.

It advises the public not to share any personal information or transact through the said account.  

“The account, which uses the BSP’s name and logo, is not associated with the BSP and the central bank has made the necessary representation for Instagram to take down said unauthorized account,” it said.

The BSP has existing and verified accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

P20 coins now ready for 2020 — BSP

Marje Pelayo   •   December 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has announced that P20 coins are ready for circulation come January 1, 2020.

The newest addition in the BSP’s coin series may now be used as legal tender along with the P20 paper bill.

The BSP earlier said the production of coins are more cost-efficient since it can be in circulation for a longer period of time unlike the P20 paper bill which is prone to damage being the most used denomination.

BSP releases new P20, enhanced P5 coins

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday released the new P20 coin that would gradually replace the P20 New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes.

In a statement, the BSP said the new P20 coin retains major elements of the P20 banknote, which features the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth Manuel L. Quezon on the front side, the BSP logo and the Malacañang Palace on the reverse side.

It also features the country’s native flora Nilad, which is believed to have been the origin of the name of the country’s capital Manila.

The new coin also has bi-color, which the central bank said, would make it easily distinguishable from other coins in the NGC coin series.

The BSP also said that the coin in highly secure, as it has microprints and an identifiable edge to deter counterfeiting.

“The new 20-Piso NGC coin shall co-exist as legal tender with the currently-circulating 20-Piso NGC banknote, which will be removed from circulation through natural attrition,” the BSP said.

Citing a study by the University of the Philippines, the central bank explained that the P20 banknote is the most-used denomination for payment so it is easily rendered unfit for circulation and returned to the BSP for replacement.

Replacing the banknote is more “cost-efficient” since it will have a longer circulation life, the BSP said. Producing a P20 bill, which lasts for 6 months, costs P2 while a P20 coin that could last for 10 years costs P10.

The BSP also launched today an enhanced P5 coin, which now features nine sides to make it more distinct from other denominations in the NGC coin series.

The 5-piso coin also retains the image of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio on the reverse side, as well as the security features of the round coin, including the microprints “Republika ng Pilipinas” and “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” the BSP said.

The P20 coin is now the highest denomination in the NGC Coin Series launched in 2018. It will be released in circulation in 2020.

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