ANOTHER TOP BUSINESS GROUP BEWAILS SUSPENSION OF BSP OFFICIALS

MANILA, August 21, 2003  (STAR) By Ted P. Torres  - Another business group expressed concern yesterday over the suspension of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael Buenaventura and four officials by the Court of Appeals (CA).

The prestigious Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) called it an "unwelcome episode" and "alarming."

"To suspend BSP Gov. Rafael B. Buenaventura and four other BSP officials is another unwelcome episode for the Philippine business community, as it only aggravated the damage that the latest military uprising caused the country’s already fragile economy," it said in a statement.

The peso immediately reacted by weakening to a 31-month low against the dollar at yesterday’s foreign exchange trading.

FINEX also expressed concern over the way the stock market performed after positive gains in the last month.

It said that the local stock market’s bleak performance is "a testimony to the damage that the CA decision inflicted to the overall Philippine business climate."

The statement said that the court order would hinder the reform programs instituted by Buenaventura within the banking industry.

"The recent decision would undermine the ability of regulators to discharge their responsibilities in ensuring a sound financial system in the public’s best interest," according to top FINEX officials.

They added that threats of legal sanctions over the heads of business executives dampens the growth of the economy as these send discouraging and embarrassing signals to investors, eroding therefore, both the public’s and investors‚ confidence in the Philippine financial system.

The economy has not yet fully recovered from the setbacks caused by events of recent weeks, and the CA order is not helping the business community regain its economic standing prior to the mutiny.

Business leaders expressed fears that the decision may further swell the climate of uncertainty in the legal aspect of doing business in the Philippines because of the judiciary’s obvious second-guessing of judgments that properly belong to agencies duly constituted by law.

Since the news of the CA decision, industry players have expressed dismay over what many called a myopic and irresponsible act.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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