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Governor, Signing Off


By Sara Grace C. Fojas
Images by Camille Ante
Video by Janus Matthew Martinez and Juan Carlo Villanueva

A man of few words—this sums up the description of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr during his intimate farewell party held at the Presidential Suite of Manila Hotel. Attended by his family, friends, colleagues, and business reporters and editors, it was a party filled with laughter and stories about Tetangco each of them would not forget in his 12 years of service to the country.

“I have seen the governor interacting with senior editors and with the young kids (reporters) and each of these groups feel that they are the favorite. They all feel the same kind of thing that we feel. He is very fair in that sense. He is incredibly professional about a whole lot of things,” says Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Dax Lucas. “I remember when I was in his office in late 2010, toward the end of his term. He was genuinely agonizing over whether he would take a second term. He says, ‘I do not want to be here if I can’t do my job properly.’

Tetangco was appointed as the governor of the BSP by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in July 2005. He was reappointed by former President Noynoy Aquino for a second term on July 2011. Prior to that, he was the deputy governor-in-charge of the Banking Services Sector, Economic Research, and Treasury of BSP. He also served as alternate executive director of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., from 1992 to 1994.

  • L-R(top) Manila Bulletin Vice Chairman Emilio C. Yap, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board Member Alfredo Antonio, Armando Suratos of BSP, BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, China Trust Vice Chairman, Bill Go, Philtrust Bank’s Fr. Jaime Laya, BSP’s Jun De Zuniga

  • L-R(seated) Ms. Tess Espenilla, Ms. Elma Tetangco, Outgoing Central Bank Governor Mr. Amando Tetangco, Manila Bulletin Vice Chairman, Basilio C. Yap and BDO Chairperson Ms. Tessie Sy-Coson
    poses for a group photo during the governor’s farewell party at the Presidential Suite of the Manila Hotel, Thursday night.

  • Gov. Tetangco and his granddaughter Zara

    The governor obtained his economics degree as cum laude at Ateneo de Manila University and his Master’s in Public Policy and Administration with concentration in Development Economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the US as a Central Bank Scholar. On July 2, he will end his second term as the governor, leaving his successor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. with big shoes to fill.

    Throughout his term, aside from keeping the country’s economy stable and keeping the inflation manageable, Tetangco received numerous awards such as the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award by FinanceAsia for his “contribution to the Philippine economic development and to the improvement of central banking standards in the region.”  He was also hailed by New York-based Global Finance magazine as one of the world’s top central bankers for eight times.

    These recognitions notwithstanding, Tetangco claims that he was never a “financial whiz” like most people think.

    “I don’t consider myself a ‘financial whiz.’ But I learned early in life, though, to work for your keep and save what you could. I remember, when I was 11 years old, I won in an art competition. My prize money went straight to a bank account. If I want something, I work for it. I accept the ‘trade-off’—one hour of studying today meant 30 minutes of play tomorrow. Managing my money, investing, I learned along the way, through experience, from mentors. The important thing is to be open to it, to want it, to study it,” he says in a previous interview with the Manila Bulletin.

    For an individual who wants to have financial knowledge, his advice is to learn to put more value on their time and effort to understand that nothing worth having comes easy.

    “Realize that you won’t be earning money forever. When you keep that in mind, saving up, planning your retirement, and finding ways to make your money earn for you will come naturally,” he says.

    But more than being the head of the country’s central monetary authority, Tetangco was first and foremost husband to his wife Elvira Ma. “Elma” Tetangco, and father to his son Patrick and his daughters to Eula and Mia, and grandfather to Patrick’s daughter Zara, his one and only apo who gave an outstanding dance performance of “Sugar” by Maroon 5 during his party.

    “Like he was captain of the BSP ship, he was also the captain of our family. He always tries to lead you wherever you want to go and he supports you throughout your journey to that role. Once in a while, when he stays at home, he teaches you valuable life lesson about integrity and honesty. He always explains to us that we only have one name so we should have to take care of it. So we always live to that expectation that we maintain our honesty and integrity. As a father, he’s fair. He sets goals and when you reach those goals he gives you a reward,” says lawyer Patrick Tetangco, the governor’s son. “He has always been an inspiration to me and my sisters because he reached such a high position through honesty and hard work. He literally rose from the ranks. We’re really proud of him.”

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