Espenilla incoming deputy central bank governor, Cimatu new environment secretary
Nestor Espenilla Jr, a 36-year veteran at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, has been named by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday as the incoming governor of the Philippine central bank.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson said appointment of the current deputy central bank governor “after months of waiting”, “is highly welcomed by the market, noting his deep and excellent monetary policy and banking regulatory experience.”
Outgoing central bank governor Amado Tetangco Jr., who helped shield the Philippines from the world financial crisis, is ending his second term of office in July.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said in his Twitter account that Espenilla had been named by Duterte.
Duterte also announced the appointment of former military general Roy Cimatu as environment and natural resources secretary. Cimatu, also the country’s special envoy to the Middle East, replaced Gina Lopez, whose confirmation was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
Abella said Espenilla’s work “helped strengthen the country's banking system ad placed it among the healthiest in ASEAN.”
“One could say that Espenilla has served as co-pilot of Gov Tetangco as he helped the country navigate to the difficult financial crisis faced by the country and the region,” said Abella.
Abella said as deputy governor, Espenilla heads the supervision and examination sector which oversees the supervision of banks and other non-bank financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the central bank.
Espenilla has been with the BSP since 1981 and has worked in economic research, international operations and in the office of the governor.
Espenilla earned a BS in business economics, magna cum laude, and an MBA from the University of the Philippines and an MS in policy science from the Graduate Institute of Policy Science (GRIPS) in Tokyo.
Different groups were quick in questioning the track record of Cimatu, a former military general, on environmental issues.
"Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed Acting Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources," read Duterte's appointment paper of Cimatu.
Duterte swore Cimatu into office in a ceremony in Malacanang and attended the 15th Cabinet meeting.
The mining sector opposed Lopez's confirmation due to some controversial orders that she made involving mining projects, such as closure of 23 mines and suspension of the operations of five others for allegedly violating environmental laws. She also banned future open pit mining.
Cimatu served as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for four months during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He is a member of Class 1970 of the Philippine Military Academy.
Last month when Duterte attended the opening of the Palarong Pambansa in Antique, Duterte introduced Cimatu, who was with him, as "secretary."
Duterte has said if things would not go well, Cimatu would be a candidate to another post, "to a busier job."
The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines said Cimatu is a neophyte to environmental issues compared to Lopez.
"He might have management capacity given his military career but he has no track record in terms of his stand on social justice, environmental protection, IP rights, and pro-poor development. We don’t need a DENR secretary who is a compromised choice to appease the mining industry,” it said.
Greenpeace Philippines said it is concerned that Duterte has appointed someone else so quickly without first addressing the issues raised in Lopez’s term and the circumstances surrounding her rejection.
"We hope that these won’t be swept under the rug. We are a bit worried why President Duterte is in a hurry to appoint a new secretary, and also disappointed why he did not firmly stand by Gina Lopez, given that she seems to be one of the few who are earnest in implementing reforms toward positive change," it said.
The environmental group wondered what would happen to the reforms started by Lopez.
"These should be continued and expanded. Without prejudice to Mr. Cimatu, we have to be clear on the strengths and expertise of an appointee as DENR Secretary. We need somebody with a clear track record on the environment. The problem with having a DENR Secretary who has no clear track record on environmental issues is that the person likely won’t see the importance of a healthy ecosystem to a healthy economy," Greenpeace added.
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment expressed dismay and denunciation over Duterte’s appointment of Cimatu.
"Duterte has clearly erred in appointing Cimatu as DENR Chief. A military man in the DENR’s helm would betray the people’s longstanding clamour for social justice and environmental protection," it said. Celerina Monte/DMS