Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. extended his medical leave for the second time this month, as he is currently undergoing treatment for a tongue cancer that was diagnosed in November 2017.
“BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. is extending his medical leave until 26 October 2018. Thereafter, he may be taking intermittent medical leaves,” the BSP Corporate Affairs Office said in an advisory Wednesday.
It said that during Espenilla’s medical leaves, his deputy governors―Diwa Guinigundo, Chuchi Fonacier and Cyd Tuano Amador―would take turns as officer-in-charge in accordance with established BSP business continuity protocol.
“In the meantime, the BSP team stays steadfast in pursuing the Continuity ++ Agenda while Governor Espenilla is completing his treatment,” it said.
Espenilla announced on Oct. 2 he extended his medical leave for another two weeks after consuming a two-week absence for his cancer treatment.
Espenilla missed the policy meeting of the Monetary Board on Sept. 27, when the benchmark borrowing rate was increased by 50 basis points to 4.5 percent to rein in inflation and address excessive volatility in exchange rate market.
He said on Oct. 2 his treatment was “progressing very well” but he had “to give it the best chance possible.”
Espenilla said a central banker “is a natural conservative.” He also acknowledged and thanked the prayers and kind wishes of the members of the media who cover the Bangko Sentral.
Espenilla disclosed in February that he discovered he had a tongue cancer before the close of 2017, but fortunately it was at an early stage “and quite localized.”
He said he underwent surgery soon to remove the problem, which “was successful.” He said for insurance, he also had to go through radiation therapy as advised by doctors.
Espenilla said the radiation therapy on him had unavoidable side effects, such as difficulties in speaking due to dry throat and mouth sores.
Espenilla took the helm of Bangko Sentral middle of last year when he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to succeed the multi-awarded governor Amando Tetangco Jr.
Espenilla has been with the Bangko Sentral for decades and his previous position was as deputy governor for the supervision sector before his appointment.
One of his programs as Bangko Sentral governor is the strengthening of the domestic financial markets in the aftermath of the $81-million money laundering incident that happened in 2016.
Espenilla promised a “continuity plus-plus” during his tenure, wherein he vowed to continue the reforms instituted by Tetangco and adding some refinements in doing so.
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