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Gabby Singson, ex-BSP governor; 87

Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Gabriel “Gabby” Singson, the country’s bedrock of stability when the Asian currency crisis erupted in 1997, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87.

Singson, a well-esteemed career central banker who spent 43 years of his life in public service, succumbed to cardiac arrest secondary to septic shock at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

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His deft stewardship of the BSP is credited by many local and foreign observers for having helped the Philippines sidestep the brunt of the economic malaise that swept across the region starting July 1997 when a number of neighboring countries suffered unprecedented currency devaluation.

When the cash-strapped Central Bank of the Philippines was abolished by Congress and reconstituted into a new entity called BSP in 1993, Singson was appointed by then President Fidel V. Ramos to be its first governor. He served as BSP chief from July 6, 1993 to July 5, 1999 and mentored a number of career central bankers, including the incumbent Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.

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When he retired as BSP chief, the country’s gross international reserves were at a record high, interest rates at multiyear lows, inflation at a single-digit level and the peso more stable than the Indonesian rupiah or the Thai baht.

“He helped steer the Philippine financial system during the 1997 East Asian financial crisis,” the BSP said in a statement.

Malacañang said Singson laid the foundations for a more stable banking and financial system that enabled the country to overcome the challenges of the Asian financial crisis.

“The country mourns the loss of an outstanding central banker and a devoted public servant,” Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said in a statement.

Singson is survived by his three children—Gabriel “Jay” Jr., Gerard and Carissa, his children-in-law and five grandchildren. His wife Moonyeen passed away in 2011.

His remains lie at the Heritage Park in Taguig. The BSP will hold a Requiem Mass and necrological service today at 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at BSP assembly hall, BSP complex. Interment will be on Friday at the Heritage Park.

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TAGS: Asian currency crisis, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BSP, Gabby Singson, Gabriel Singson, obituary
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