BIZ BUZZ: The return of the independent BSP | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: The return of the independent BSP

/ 02:02 AM December 05, 2022

Many eyebrows were raised when Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla opined last Friday that the sovereign wealth fund being proposed by the Marcos administration entailed some governance risks that would endanger the people’s money.

Speaking in a Bloomberg TV interview, the central bank chief said that, even if President Marcos appoints a clean and competent board of directors for the so-called Maharlika Investment Fund this time around, there are no guarantees that future presidents will do the same. He also nixed the idea of including the central bank’s dollar reserves in the fund’s investable pool of resources.

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Biz Buzz hears that the independent-minded, straight-talking Medalla had previously intimated to close friends that he doesn’t mind not getting reappointed to the central bank’s top post as long as he does what is right for the country in his current one-year tenure.

And “doing right” is just what he and the Monetary Board have done, taking the unpopular route of raising interest rates substantially to contain the greatest inflation crisis the country has faced since the early 1980s.

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More importantly, Gov. Medalla has restored the central bank’s independence from Malacañang Palace’s policies, as the law mandates. Too bad he only has seven months left at the helm. And this early, potential candidates are already positioning themselves for the post. Expect these personalities to become more prominent in the coming months. Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

Fare fight

Grab Philippines is set to attend a hearing with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Dec. 6. A show cause order dated Nov. 28 was issued after a complaint by Lawyers for Consumers Safety and Protection was filed due to alleged violations in fare charging, according to digital advocacy group Digital Pinoys.

“We are preparing accordingly, but we are confident that we uphold the best interest of our consumers and drivers in everything that we do, and we take great comfort knowing that they continue to greatly benefit from our platform and services,” the super app operator told the Inquirer.

Digital Pinoys urged the LTFRB to look into the alleged overcharging scheme to protect the consumers.

“The price when booking at 12 midnight, 5 in the morning and 8 a.m. is almost the same as booking at 5 p.m. It seems that Grab is taking advantage of its surge pricing mechanism,” it said.

But the ride-hailing service provider said such claims were “purely speculative,” noting they were fully compliant with the fare matrix set by the LTFRB.

Currently, Grab collects a base fare of P45 for a GrabCar four-seater service, imposing additional P15 per kilometer and P2 per minute.

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“Following the LTFRB’s recent decision on fare increase, we have recently added an additional P5 on our base fare,” Grab said.

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad INQ

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