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Remarks at the Necrological Services for the Late Gov. Nestor Espenilla Jr.

Date: 02.28.2019

Place: BSP Assembly Hall

Occasion: Necrological services for the late BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.

Speaker: Former BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr.

Good afternoon.

It was a proud moment for me, when Gov. Nesting was chosen as my successor.

I have always believed that the best preparation for any man (or woman) for the BSP Governor-ship is to be someone “from within” the BSP. No one would know the quirks of this behemoth institution better than one...who has spent a great part of his or her adult life... as a productive member of the BSP family.Gov. Nesting fit that bill...

He has always claimed that he is “home grown”... “Laking BSP” was how he called himself on the day of his inauguration.

Listening to him deliver his inaugural speech, I felt confident and hopeful. ...because I was seeing one of our own... take over the reins of an institution that we all dearly treasure.

Gov. Nesting and I both loved the BSP with deep fervor... and, I know, so does every BSP’er here in the Assembly Hall today and outside... whether past or present.

Nesting and I essentially grew up together in the BSP... shared the same bosses... Were exposed to the same crises (since the1980s)...we both had stints in the IMF...we were steeped in DER tradition of analytical rigor and well considered policy formulation. We both benefited from BSP scholarships...

While he left the green pastures of Research to go to SES, I moved to add Treasury and Banking Services under my belt.

Indeed, our basic DNAs are the same. But while we have many similarities, Gov. Nesting was very much his own person. Nesting was his own man...

Pero, as many of you know, matigas ang ulo nyang si Nesting... Minsan gusto kong sawayin... Kasi minsan pasaway...

And, in fact, a number of times when he was still Deputy Governor, I have had to tell him to either slow down when he was too heavy on the pedal, back off when the heat was too much, or push further when that was needed on one item or other...But... being matigas ang ulo was also one of his best traits... He possessed what most kids (millennials, I mean)... and even baby boomers of today do not possess... he had “stick-to-it-ive-ness”.

He stuck to a job until its completion... I recall how he would defend the BSP policies on price discovery and organized markets, bank deposit secrecy, amendments to the BSP Charter in both Houses of Congress. He had a black executive bag that was already bursting at the seams for each of these Congressional appearances...

The bag contained notes, circulars, and data... Everything that I know he already knew by heart... But he had them anyway, just in case, there was that one question that he didn’t get to prepare for... but I know he was really prepared for anyway. He had a brilliant mind that was always at work!

He was tireless...and also always ready to hurdle those humps and sometimes, roadblocks, along the way to achieving sound and responsive monetary policy and financial regulation.

When he accepted the Governorship, he spoke about my shoes being too big to fill... As predecessor, that was heartwarming... But because, as I said, he was his own man... I recall him saying too that since those shoes were too big to fill, he would rather run with his own shoes... Tess, did he wear a size 11? When you think about it, his were really bigger than mine!

He wanted to bring the financial markets and the BSP further through his Plus-Plus agenda.. Many other speakers as well as the statements from industry associations attest, Gov. Nesting has indeed brought the BSP and the financial system further...

Previous speakers spoke about how Nesting did the spadework so the financial system would be more inclusive by leveraging on technology. All the previous speakers have heralded how he has built on what we began in NRPS. As I understand, they are working towards the goal we set of 20 percent of all financial transactions being electronic by 2020! He made efforts to marry financial inclusion with financial technology. He also used technology to improve how the BSP supervises banks.

Gov. Nesting was always a believer in markets and market-based solutions. Among others, he believed there should be better and more efficient price discovery in the secondary market. And, based on his more recent pronouncements, I know he was working to make even our own BSP monetary operations more market-oriented.

And we also know how strongly he felt about developing talent in the BSP. He felt strongly that exposure, more rounded exposure will prepare the BSP faster and further into the digital age...Disruption was often how he called the Plus-Plus agenda.

Many of the reforms he sought may admittedly be difficult, and require patience to manifest their effect... As we know, the benefits of disruptions are never contemporaneous. Only years from now will we see.... perhaps appreciate fully ... perhaps understand better their impact.

Nesting was courageous... his ways were at times unconventional... but he was always also a man of integrity... He was the same whether at the office or outside the office. He was the same whether he was delivering a speech to a crowd of hundreds, or just sitting with me in the confines of my office.

And while we would have wanted Gov. Nesting to be more patient, I think we all now know and understand “why” he always appeared to be “a man on a mission” and in a hurry.

Like you, I would have very much wanted for him to have completed all the reforms he began... but, sadly, this was all the time he had.

He battled an illness that very few in the medical profession understood well at this time...Even in his illness, he had to help pave the way for all others who would have his kind of cancer....

His illness was a long trial for him... But he persevered… And we all know, he stood the test... He stuck to his reform agenda – both inside and outside the BSP – to the very end. Indeed. He served BSP and the country exceedingly well.

He was able to stand the test because of the support of his family.

Tess, Jackie and Ben, Nikko, Nesty... I hope you know how much your father valued you...
In the BSP, work life balance is an enigma... But Nesting always tried to keep that... It hurt him so much when he couldn’t be with you... one most heart-felt incident that I recall was when he expressed to me, that because he was feverishly fighting fires – unfair characterizations of himself and the BSP, the constant sword over his head of lawsuits, all sorts of pressure -- there was just so much he was up against as a BSP official... he could not even celebrate Jaqui’s victory... when she passed the bar... He was nearly in tears when he said, I could not even celebrate my daughter!

Tess, there were many more sacrifices and trials that Nesting had to endure. And you stood by him so well. 

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and from all of us who are here today and the others whose lives he touched... Elma and I, our children, truly appreciate you and Nesting... your friendship, your love, your dedication, and your sincerity under all circumstances.

In the book of James chapter 1 verse 12, St. James writes, in the Message Version, ‘Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.”

In the New International Version, it calls “that” reward, the Crown of Life that the Lord promised. I do not claim to be a theologian or a pastor... but this verse says to me... Nesting has stuck it out; he met the challenges head on. I don’t know the level of his spirituality, but to me, Nesting’s daily life showed that he loved a God higher than he... So I believe, as surely as God is love, Nesting has now received that crown of life.

Farewell, Nesting... please rest. Now you are in the bosom of your true Father... rest in his deep embrace... Rest in the One whom you have served so well.