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Promoting Financial Literacy

(Article published in the Feb 3, 2010 issue of Manila Standard Today)  

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.