Fellow members of the Monetary Board — MBM Tony Abacan (who is celebrating Christmas with us for the first time)...MBM Peter Favila... MBM Philip Medalla... MBM Jun de Zuniga... Sec. Sonny Dominguez… MBM Val Araneta… former MBM Andy Suratos; members of the BSP Senior Management Team - our very hardworking and dedicated Deputy Governors - DG Diwa Guinigundo...DG Cyd Amador and DG Chuchi Fonacier; our Assistant Governors: Winnie Santiago (who is also EMS Coordinator), General Counsel Elmore Capule, AG Memett Manalac (who chaired this year’s meticulous and well organized Anniversary and Christmas Preparations — congratulations Memett to you and the rest of the Committee—), SPC Head - AG Dahlia Luna, AG Noet Ravalo, AG Resty Cruz, AMLCs Executive Director Mel Racela; fellow BSPers – from Head Office, SPC, the Regions and Branches; BSP Alumni; BSP Ladies; beloved family members and friends - magandang hapon sa inyong lahat!
This is just my second time to address the BSP gathered in full physical and virtual assembly.... The first time was last 3 July 2017 at the Assembly Hall as I was sworn-in as fourth Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
What makes our assembly today more exciting and joyous is that we are joined today by our spouses, our children and other family members. The lovely BSP ladies are here in full force, including my very supportive wife – Tess.
Dear BSP, it is a happy day for we are amongst family.
What a delight to celebrate the season in this way…. Like many of you here today, I have been a BSPer for many years... decades... 36 years to be exact… With each year, I become more and more committed to the BSP. And if there is something I have come to greatly appreciate, it is the fact that my family’s love and support has enabled me to persevere and do my work better. I am sure many of you here know what I am talking about. To the wives, husbands, and children here today, thank you for your understanding as we did our work, often going home late, sometimes working during weekends or holidays as we did our part in the BSP. Salamat sa inyo. Palakpakan natin sila fellow BSPers.
Again many of you here may relate... in the years that I have been here, I have come to regard BSP as my home away from home... and right now, I can honestly say that there is no place I would rather be than celebrating Christmas with all of you here at the PICC.
I love this season. Yes, it is marked by a persistent maddening frenzy as crowds rush to malls and restaurants and homes. Agreed, the traffic can be even more frustrating and hypertension-inducing than usual.
But, all these are consequences of something positive. These are effects of the need to be amongst family and friends; to reconnect through reunions and parties; to show appreciation through gift-giving, meeting-up and catching-up. In the end, the trouble is worth it. To be amongst family is worth it.
Overall, the season IS undoubtedly the most joyful time of the year! Even the weather is different. Colourful decor cheers up the night. Everyone seems to be noticeably kinder, gentler and more generous. Feelings, messages and sincere wishes of PEACE, LOVE and HOPE prevail, fuelling us as we welcome the incoming year.
It is a season of meaningful traditions. And at the BSP, we are not without our own... There is the ceremonial switching-on of our Christmas lights display which we celebrated just last week... We have sectoral and department Christmas parties with fierce but fun competitions... and the tradition of the much-awaited announcement of … the winners of the BSPEAI Christmas Car raffle... Abangan… nabitin ba kayo?
So it is a time of laughter, merry-making. Of good cheer. It is also a time of showing appreciation and gratitude. So, on behalf of my fellow members of the Monetary Board and our management team, let me thank each one of you... For what, you may ask?
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been only five (5) months since I transitioned from being DG NAE to Gov NAE… In those five (5) months, I have spoken many times before various groups. To various audiences, I have lauded the BSP’s past accomplishments, the soundness of its policies, reporting happily on our country’s economic narrative featuring sustained and strong economic growth, hitting 6.9 percent in the third quarter... I have talked about inflation being low and stable at about 3.2 percent (YTD) and the balance of payments position being very manageable. With pride, I have narrated that our banking system is efficiently functioning, well-capitalized and marked by strong asset quality.
All these achievements and successes would not be possible if it were not for the concerted efforts of many - government agencies and private entities alike .... But these would also not have been possible if it were not for each person here’s dedication and commitment to excellence in public service in whatever specific task you do for BSP. And for this, we thank each of you. Maraming salamat po, Team BSP!
We thank you too as we pursue various programs and initiatives to foster a more conducive economic and business environment and achieve greater financial inclusion. Personally, I thank you for putting the “continue” in continuity and in adding more “pluses” to a more dynamic “plus plus.”
We realize that central banking is not an easy task. Our work is fraught with challenges. There is an outside demand for talented people like you. This is why we, in the Monetary Board and BSP management, endeavour to give you a working environment that is fair and motivating, one which will equip you to do your part in raising the quality of life of every Filipino.
Our blessings, are not only meant to be enjoyed, but they also are meant to be shared. But beyond the material things, let us also share the more enduring blessings of kindness, compassion and empathy.
May we be mindful of the lonely, those in need, those who are sick, and those who are struggling for whatever reason. May we be instruments of comfort to them, by spreading through words and deeds, the true message of Christmas.
Finally, let us forgive each other our slights and extend more understanding and compassion... so that we can, not just now, but throughout our lives, truly - whether in or outside of BSP, always be amongst family.
I would like to close with a quote from Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. He said, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
From my family — my wife Tess, and our children, Jackie and her husband Ben, Nikko, and Nesty — to yours — Maligaya at Makabuluhang Pasko, at Manigo, Mapagpala at Mapayapang Bagong Taon, BSP.
Maraming Salamat sa inyong lahat.