DAVAO BOYCOTT OF CRONY BANKS UNSUCCESSFUL
Davao City, Nov. 22, 2000 - A group called for a boycott on banks owned by so-called cronies of President Estrada, but bank officials and the business sector countered claim their firms did not suffer heavy withdrawals.
Peter Laviña, People Action Party (Akbayan) chair for Davao City, yesterday claimed PCI-Equitable Bank oowned by Estrada friend George Go suffered massive withdrawals after the group started the boycott on the bank. The group added that three other banks: Lucio Tan’s Philippine National Bank and Allied Bank and the United Coconut Planters Bank of Eduardo Cojuangco were likewise affected.
Laviña said a PCI-Equitable Bank official admitted to him the bank suffered withdrawals last week. “They even asked for an emergency assistance of P2 billion from the Central Bank,” he said.
However, another officer of PCI-Equitable Bank who refused to be named debunked Laviña’s claim by saying the bank cannot be shaken by withdrawals from one city alone. “Besides, we did not suffer heavy withdrawals at all,” said the lady officer.
She also said there were reports that it was another bank, a thrift bank, which suffered from heavy withdrawals last week, but even that report turned out to be a false alarm. She told The Manila Times that a real indication for heavy withdrawals is when members of the Chinese community start trooping to the banks along Monteverde Avenue, Davao’s equivalent to Manila’s Binondoto pull out their money.
Joji Ilagan-Bian, Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair, confirmed the banks’ claims, and said there was no report that PCI-Equitable Bank suffered heavy withdrawals.
Even if the bank did, there is no reason for depositors to panic because the merger of the two banks has strengthened its capital, he said.
“Kaya naman nila ang withdrawals dito sa atin. Malaking bangko ‘yan at I don’t think there is a reason to panic (They can afford the withdrawals. It’s a big bank),” Bian said.
Allied Bank branch manager Fernando Tiron told The Times the local protests did not affect their operations. “So far, wala namang heavy withdrawals from our depositors,” he said, pointing out that a picket was only done once or twice in front of their establishment.
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