Philippine financial markets were shut down Monday as heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm “Maring” flooded the National Capital Region and some parts of Luzon, reminiscent of how the “Habagat” (monsoon) downpour paralyzed the metropolis around the same time last year.
The Philippine Stock Exchange announced early Monday morning that there would be no trading at its bourse as clearing and settlement at Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines had been suspended. As operations at government offices were suspended, clearing and settlement operations in the Philippine banking system likewise ground to a halt.
Most banks declared work suspension in the NCR and affected areas of Luzon but some chose to remain open for business. Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. and Citibank were among those that kept their doors open except in areas where a local holiday was observed, including Quezon City, which celebrated its foundation day.
Most employees, however, were sent home earlier than the usual working hours. On the other hand, BDO Unibank, HSBC, Philippine National Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Security Bank, China Bank, Union Bank, United Coconut Planters Bank and East West Bank immediately suspended work in affected areas.
The banks encouraged customers to use electronic banking channels like online banking and automated teller machines to conduct vital transactions. In Aug. 7 last year, an inclement weather that flooded the metropolis similarly forced Philippine financial markets and banking operations to a halt. Meanwhile, Metro Manila’s major shopping malls and grocery chains remained open for business. Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings, Robinsons Land Corp., Megaworld Corp. as well as retailer Puregold Price Club Inc. said they were open to serve consumers.
In the case of SM Prime, only its shopping mall in Bacoor was closed. Because surrounding area of SM Bacoor was flooded, portions of this Cavite mall took in water but sandbags were placed to prevent flood from getting in, based on an advisory from SM. Doris C. Dumlao