Welcome Remarks

(Delivered on the Occasion of a Dinner Reception in honor of BSP Deputy Governor Alberto V. Reyes and BSP-SED IV Director Wilfredo B. Domo-ong, 20 April 2005, Casino Español, T.M. Kalaw, Ermita, Manila)

BSP Deputy Governor Alberto Reyes, BSP-SED IV Director Atty. Wilfredo Domo-ong, fellow rural bankers, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

We are gathered here tonight with mixed feelings of sadness and joy as we pay tribute and honor to our good friends and pillars of the banking industry – Governor Reyes and Director Domo-ong. This is the most opportune time to express our heartfelt gratitude to these gentlemen for their unwavering support and assistance. Concomitantly, we are saddened by their departure from BSP because for years, they stood beside us to shed light in our path as we trudge on the bumpy road towards countryside development.

I can’t find the best adjectives to describe these gentlemen and the right words to express my gratitude. During my term as the President of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, I witnessed how Governor Reyes became a loving and generous Father of the Industry. He tirelessly extended his invaluable support and efforts to promote the development of rural finance. His steadfast leadership and uncompromising principles created significant changes not only to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas but even to the whole banking sector. Governor Reyes is a man of par excellence, and a principled regulator whose sleeves are always rolled up to attain financial stability, economic development and balanced growth. He is a moral and spiritual leader who educated us with corporate values that in turn became our strength in servicing the countryside with credit and savings mobilization. He is a champion of the rural banking sector as the bitter enemy of those who undermine the rural banks and obstruct the delivery of credit and financial services to the countryside. If there’d be someone who maybe called as “Man of the Countryside”, I believe that Governor Reyes is that man. His programs and projects were all directed towards the improvement of rural finance and genuine development can be achieved by first curing the illness of the countryside. Having recognized as indispensable partners of development, the rural banks are constantly challenged by Governor Reyes to initiate positive changes such that even amidst favors or adversities the sector can still emerge as victor. He is our servant leader who willingly served without trying to reap the benefits for him.

Director Domo-ong is a loyal friend to the rural banking sector. Countless are the efforts he exerted and the time he spared to listen to our industry concerns and help us in our strengthening programs. His tireless support and presence in all our undertakings are manifestations of his earnest commitment as Director of the Supervisory and Examination Division IV-Department of Rural Banks.

The unbendable commitment of these gentlemen towards development shows where their hearts are. Their hearts are right there in the marginalized areas, where we are at, and where development is needed most. They may leave now, but surely, their legacy for BSP, for the rural banking sector and for the countryside will serve as the driving force of our day-to-day operations. RBAP commits itself to sustain the momentum we gained. Our friends may cause a void to our association but surely that void will be filled with our enthusiasm to build rural communities as how we envisioned them to be. Similarly, that void will encourage us to move on and fight the good fight.

Our words of gratitude to these gentlemen from BSP may not be sufficient to manifest our appreciation to their commendable efforts and outstanding service to the country. We can only give them our best wishes.

Lastly, may I take this opportunity to warmly welcome you all to this Dinner Reception to honor our beloved Governor Reyes and our good friend Director Domo-ong.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay po kayo!