Diokno to continue policies of predecessor in BSP
Incoming Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday said would continue pursuing "steady and strong" economic growth and financial inclusion of his predecessor, Nestor Espenilla,
Diokno, in his last press conference as budget secretary on Wednesday, adding readiness to address the number one threat to the financial system which is “cyber security”.
Diokno said the central bank can be supportive to the administration without losing its independence.
"I know how government works. I know where we want to go. I'm familiar with the program of the government," he said.
"Our BSP is supposed to be independent, but that does not mean it has to be against. It has to understand what the administration is trying to to do. If you have to be supportive, you support but without losing your independence," he said.
Diokno said policy decisions under his watch will be "evidence-based" and be released after “careful study”.
"We have to be very, very careful in adopting policy," he said.
It was Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who recommended him to President Rodrigo Duterte, said Diokno.
Diokno said it was during an economic managers meeting for the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Rice Tariffication Law last week when Dominguez asked him who he wants to recommend as the new central bank governor.
“Anyone is good ,” Diokno recalled. “He (Dominguez) then said, ‘why not you?’. So I said, sure why not? That’s it.”
“But it's really up to the President. We went through the vetting process. There were many names considered as many as eight," he added.
Duterte announced the appointment of Diokno before the start of their cabinet meeting last Monday.
Diokno, a former University of the Philippines’ economics professor, said his training makes him eligible.
“I have Ph.D in economics, I know exactly what's going on here or there… I have the necessary training, I can read (econometric) models, if necessary. That cannot be said of other BSP governors,” said Diokno.
“I don't buy that concept as if the central bank governorship is the prerogative of those from the inside,” he added.
He said his decisions as a BSP governor cannot be influenced by politics as he is not a politician.
"Number one, I am not a politician. In other countries, it's normal that you get the chairman of the Fed or the governor of the central bank to come from the academe,” said Diokno.
"What is bad is when you appoint a banker... You don't want a banker to be central bank governor because then you appoint one of the boys to the central bank and that's bad for the economy," he added.
As the new governor, Diokno said he will be more private and more circumspect.
"I'm not supposed to be accessible to everyone. Instead of making frank, to the point, blunt statements like I do here, my statements have to be measured... Not necessarily a monk but more private than usual," he said.
“Every word of the BSP governor moves the market so I got to be that person,” he added.
Diokno said he will be sworn as the central bank governor late Wednesday and will have his first Monetary Board meeting on Thursday. Ella Dionisio/DMS