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Marcos appoints Remolona as BSP Governor

BSP Governor Eli Remolona

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed Eli Remolona, a member of the Monetary Board with extensive experience in international banking and finance, to replace Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla, whose term ends on July 2.

“With his extensive experience and remarkable achievements in central banking, economic policy, international finance, and financial markets, Mr. Remolona brings a wealth of expertise to his new role,” the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in its announcement.

The PCO said the appointment was made after extensive consultations with the Department of Finance, various government offices, private banks and financial institutions.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines welcomed Remolona’s appointment.

“With his extensive global experience and expertise in financial markets and regulations, we are confident that Dr. Remolona will anchor the Philippine banking industry not only towards continuous stability of the financial system, but also to growth and competitiveness in the regional stage,” Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco, President of BAP, said.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, chief economist Michael Ricafort said this was a “welcome development for the markets and economy.”

Given his international experience, track record and reputation in central banking in developed countries, his appointment would bring a more international perspective and the adoption of more global best practices, Ricafort said.

Ricafort added that the most important priorities of the next BSP governor would be stable prices or inflation and the peso.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said: “The fact that he was also part of the economic mission led by Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and Susan Collins of the Boston Fed to advise the Philippine government on structural reforms also guarantees that he has a deeper insight into how best to lead the BSP. I look forward to working with him in ensuring that we stay on track with our Agenda for Prosperity.”

Remolona’s career includes 14 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, followed by 19 years at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

During his time at the BIS, he served as the regional head for Asia and the Pacific, where he closely collaborated with the governors of 12 leading central banks in the region.

As the chief representative for Asia and the Pacific at the BIS, he led a team of 35 professionals, managed a significant budget, and oversaw policy-oriented research and financial services provided to central banks and governments in the region.

His work focused on crucial issues such as financial stability, capital market development, and asset management for Asia-Pacific central banks.

He has also taught courses on monetary policy, money and capital markets, and digital transformation.

His journey in economics began in 1972 when he served as an economist at the Presidential Economic Staff and Development Management Staff, under Alejandro Melchor, then executive secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr..

Throughout his career, he has also worked as a consultant for institutions such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank.

Before his appointment as governor of the BSP, Remolona served as a member of the Monetary Board of the BSP since August 2022.

Medalla, the sixth BSP governor, took his oath of office on June 30, 2022. He has been a Monetary Board member since 2011. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)

He served the last year of the six-year term of the late BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. who died in February 2019 from cancer after serving for almost two years.

The current Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno succeeded Espenilla and served for three years.

House Ways and Means Chair and Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda on Friday congratulated Remolona on his appointment, calling it “welcome news.”

Salceda said that “the appointment of Dr. Remolona should also signal the country’s keenness on certain recent developments in central banking, such as digital central bank currencies and de-dollarization. He is the best person for these areas of development.”

“Dr. Remolona was also involved in regulatory reform for much of his career, which signals a BSP that will likely continue to err on the side of caution when it comes to dealing with the banking sector.”

“The market will most likely test the new governor’s policy direction and will once he takes over on July 2. I also expect policy continuity from the highly successful balancing act of Governor Medalla to protect the peso without exhausting our gross international reserves.”

“As a side note, the BSP governorship returns to Ateneo with Dr. Remolona’s appointment. The last instance that was the case, we had Dr. Amando Tetangco, who is widely regarded as the best central banker in Asia during his time,” Salceda added.

Salceda thanked Medalla “for his outstanding performance as BSP governor during immensely difficult times.”

“Governor Medalla’s stint in the BSP was extremely successful, judging by the challenges he has had to surmount and the outcomes of his decisions. We were able to withstand the global tide of Fed hikes, investor uncertainty, and global market disruption because of his skillful steering of the BSP.”

Salceda said “there are challenges for Dr. Remolona to address the moment he takes over.”

“Dr. Remolona will have the very difficult task of protecting the country from external shocks and higher prices while providing enough policy space for growth. Dr. Medalla walked that tightrope skillfully. I am optimistic Dr. Remolona will also do so.”

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