Dominguez: Cancer-free BSP chief has Duterte’s full support
After disclosing Sunday that he had a bout with tongue cancer late last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. has the full support of the President, the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team said.
“The good news is that our prayers have been answered and that Nesting (Espenilla’s nickname) is cancer-free and recovering from the ill effects of the treatment,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told finance reporters in a text message.
“He (Espenilla) has my full support and that of the President,” Dominguez added.
Espenilla said Sunday morning that he had been diagnosed with tongue cancer in November 2017 and had undergone surgery to remove a tumor that was detected at an early stage.
The 59-year-old chief of the country’s central monetary authority said the medical procedure — which had caused him speaking difficulties due to dry throat and mouth sores — was successful and that his doctors had since pronounced him cancer-free.
“Fortunately, it was very early stage and quite localized,” the central bank chief said. “So I don’t expect this curve ball to slow me down.”
“For insurance, I also had to go through radiation therapy as advised by doctors,” Espenilla said, explaining that he was making the announcement to address those who had been asking about his health. “That’s completed now. However, radiation therapy has unavoidable side effects.”
Espenilla was appointed by President Duterte as the country’s central bank governor in May 2017 and assumed his fixed six-year term of office the following month.
Formerly the deputy governor in charge of bank supervision in charge of implementing sanctions against erring financial institutions, he has made banking reform the cornerstone of his agenda, further liberalizing market rules and surprising industry insiders who were expecting a clampdown instead.
The central bank chief made the announcement about his health while on a “pilgrimage” to Israel with family and friends, adding that his doctors expect him “to achieve more or less full recovery in a month or so.”
“Now, that’s my personal ‘normalization’,” Espenilla said, using the central bank’s buzzword to describe his policy of undoing decades-old regulations that he believes have been keeping the Philippine economy from developing more fully. “I just have to hang on and be patient. Meanwhile, it’s work as usual for me. Onward with the financial market reforms.”
“Implementing these reforms is both complex and exciting. It is a very absorbing endeavor for me,” he said. “I am confident that this personal medical issue will not distract from the important work at hand.” /cbb
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