Philippine central bank governor Espenilla dies, deputy chief fills in

25, Feb. 2019

MANILA, NNA - Philippine Central Bank Governor Nestor Espenilla died on Saturday at age 60, after a year-long battle with cancer.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board named Deputy Governor Almasara Cyd Tuano-Amador as interim officer-in-charge until President Rodrigo Duterte names his own caretaker or appoints a new governor to complete the six-year term, the bank said.

The seven members of the policy-making board are appointed by the president.

The bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a total of 175 basis points to 4.75 percent last year, when annual inflation surged to a 10-year high of 5.2% on food supply constraints and higher oil prices.

As inflation eased, the bank maintained its monetary policy stance for a second straight meeting in January, after tightening credit for the fifth time in November.

Looking ahead, the bank has said the risks to the domestic inflation outlook have become “more evenly balanced” for 2019 and lean toward the downside for 2020 amid uncertain global growth.

Espenilla, a career central banker, was appointed by President Duterte on July 3, 2017. He led reforms in monetary and financial policies as well as digitization of the retail payment system, the BSP said in a statement.

“During his tenure, the amendments to the BSP charter were finally passed, strengthening the capability of the central bank to deliver its mandate to promote price and financial stability and to foster a safe, efficient and inclusive payment system,” it said.