Hi! I am Nina Lasala, former Treasurer of the Philppines. This blog is meant to be an open forum for investors, fellow finance professionals, and other interested parties to discuss the state of Philippine Debt Management.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Welcome to my Blog!

Dear friends, colleagues and fellow finance professionals,

I am Nina Lasala, the current Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines. I am writing this Blog to document the events, considerations and decisions I have had to undertake during my tenure. I believe I owe it to myself, my family and for historical references to discuss the many complex issues in detail.

As some of you may be aware, much controversy has been generated as of late surrounding my alleged opposition to the Third Party Custodian regulations promulgated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

I am saddened but understand how the popular media has chosen to simplify the issues and trivialize it in terms of making it appear as if it were all about personality and personal agenda considerations. To be fair, I understand that these issues are not easily understood by the man on the street. However, the issues WILL directly impact the man on the street just the same.

To share my personal beliefs, I believe that we are all stewards of this country's welfare. In my humble and limited capacity as the national debt manager that is the lens I always use for viewing my responsibilites.

It is my hope that we can have a dispassionate and thorough discussion of these issues. I also hope that through these discussions, we can all come to some understanding if not agreement regarding the stand and actuations I have taken.

Nina Lasala


Blogger PhilEconomist said...

I have been following this article over the past couple of months in the BusinessWorld newspaper.

As someone who understands the articles working for a private consulting firm, I personally found it odd that government wanted to add a layer of cost to protect myself.

Currently, I invest a lot in Treasuries through my local bank. I pay no custodian fees. The profits aren't great, but it is the only risk free investment I can buy. A couple of months ago, I got a letter in informing me that I had to choose a third party custodian. This led me to read and follow what has been going on in the papers.

Let me tell you, it's bad enough that I see my bank making a huge profit every time I compare the auction rates to what price I got, and now government wants me to pay custodian fees?!!! Hey, I know a small account like mine can't really be given a choice and I concede to that, but how can I be sure that these fees don't take all the profits that I can get?

This controversy in the papers comes at the worst possible time for the country. S&P already expressed its concern about the pace of fiscal reforms and the country could face another downgrade. As such, I am curious as to why people would want to tinker with the local debt market at this point in time. Putting an additional 20B in the annual borrowing cost of government, as the article in today's paper stated, is just crazy and makes no sense at all.

On another note, I am quite surprised that a senior government official such as yourself is enlightened enough to go online and face the blogging public. I must say that your blog has indeed changed my view of government officials as being "Jurrasic". I will eagerly anticipate your posts and I hope that I can be of some help to our country. More power to you!!!!

Sana tularan ka ng lahat ng government officials. Too bad you are on the way out. I guess ganyan talaga ang Pilipinas, the good ones are always the ones who go first. My sympathies go out to you. Our country needs more people like you who actually care and are willing to do what is right for the country, no matter how difficult it is.

God Bless!


1:18 PM

Blogger ronar said...

I am just an ordinary depositor, a friend of mine told me about this site, after reading the contents of this site, I remembered the bank in which I deposit and invest in government securities, informed me about this 3rd party thing, when I asked the branch manager, he can not even explain what it is for. After a few weeks a treasury guy from their bank explained to me about this 3rd party, and I quote " This is for your protection".

In the course of our conversation he himself is not that convinced about this 3rd party thing. Then I realized if there is a 3rd party involved in the banks transaction , anybody, as in anybody from that company (3rd party) can see my investments! Now, I told the treasury guy, "pre, lalo akong na expose sa danger , dahil nawala na yung secrecy ng deposit ko". In the banks where we usually deposit and invest we are not even sure who is
looking in to our accounts, what more a 3rd party corporation that is not governed by the banking ethics.

After reading the comment of phileconomist , I realized that if they charge me something like 900.00 pesos per transaction, the way I understand it, chinacharge na nila yung bangko , pati client, sa dami ng client ng isang bank, eh tiba tiba sila dito. lalong pahirap sa cliente at mamamayan, isipin nyo kung magiinvest lang ako ng 100,000 piso, magkano yung interes ? tapos para masabi nila na para sa pritectyon namin babawasan ng 900? e yung interest na kinita ko eh higit kumulang lang na 1,500. hindi pa binabawas yung tax, HIGIT KALAHATI ANG NAPUNTA DYAN DA 3RD PARTY NA YAN!!!

Tama ang nakalagay dito , ako mismo ang susuporta sa layunin ni Ms. Lasala , ngayon kailangan mamulat ang lahat sa maling gawain...

Ronar Valdez

6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It quite refreshing to read your blog!

It very unfortunate that some special interest in gov't want you out.

I would just like to express my sincerest thanks for all your work and your courageous crusade to fight for us small investors against this 3rd party custodian stupidity!

Good luck and God Bless!

7:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mam Nina,

Di po ba dagdag gastos na naman yan sa mga mamamayan. Vat na rito Vat doon, bakit itong 3rd party custodian ay hindi bigyan pansin ng ating mambabatas? Ang ilang mayayaman na naman ang magkakacomisyon sa malaki na utang ng Pilipinas.

Salamat po sa inyo Mam. Mayroon
pa rin palang taong gobyerno na katulad nyo. God Bless.

9:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mam Nina,

Di po ba dagdag gastos na naman yan sa mga mamamayan. Vat na rito Vat doon, bakit itong 3rd party custodian ay hindi bigyan pansin ng ating mambabatas? Ang ilang mayayaman na naman ang magkakacomisyon sa malaki na utang ng Pilipinas.

Salamat po sa inyo Mam. Mayroon
pa rin palang taong gobyerno na katulad nyo. God Bless.

9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

we will all support you!

11:36 AM

Anonymous matanglawin said...

Tulad ng sinabi ni phileconomist, napansin nya na malaki ang kinikita ng mga bangko sa pagbenta ng treasury bills sa mga investors kung ikukumpara ito sa auction o di kaya ay sa kasalukuyang presyo ng mga kahalintulad na treasury bills na maaring bilhin sa mga GSEDs or brokers. Ang "spread" o kitang ito ang isa sa mga malaking balakid para sa mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan na bumili ng government securities, kaya't minamabuti pa nating ilagay ang pera natin sa mga special savings accounts. Hindi ba't isang ploy ito ng mga bangko upang solohin ang 'risk free' at 'high yielding' government securities. Wala na kasing ibang mapaglagyan ng pera ang mga bangko, lalo na't takot sila sa pagpapautang. Dahil sa kawalan ng kompyansa sa mga nangungutang, minamabuti na ng mga bangko na ang gobyerno na lang ang pautangin (sa pamamagitan ng pagbili ng government securities), kaysa magpautang sa small and medium industries or personal loans.

Kung titignan natin ang patakaran na magkaroon ng isang 3rd party custodian, bahagi ito ng G-30 recommendation para sa pagpapaunland ng capital markets. Ano ba ang ibubunga ng 3rd party custodian;

(a) magkakaroon ng pagkakataon ang isang investor sa government securities (GS) na makabili at magbenta sa kung sinuman ang magkapagbibigay ng mas magandang presyo. Sa nangyayari ngayon, kung gusto nating ibenta or 'i-liquidate' yung nabili nating GS, napipilitan tayong magbenta sa pinagbilihan natin, kaya binabarat tayo sa presyo.

(b) makakasigurado tayo na hindi pinaglalaruan ng mga bangko ang GS natin nang walang pahintulot. Katulad ng pera na dinedeposito natin sa bangko, binabayaran tayo ng interest ng bangko sa paggamit sa ating pera. Dahil 'libre' and serbisyo sa pagtago ng GS, di natin alam kung ginagamit ng bangko ang ating GS para sa kanilang mga 'trading' activities. Sana man lang may paraan upang ipaalam sa atin na may hihiram sa ating mga GS at bibigyan tayo ng kaukulang bayad at garantiya na ibabalik sa ating ang GS na hiniram. Maari itong gawin ng 3rd party custodian.

(k) Tulad ng statement o passbook na natatanggap natin mula as ating mga bangko, katungkulan ng 3rd party custodian na bigyan tayo ng statement ng mga investment natin sa GS, at kailangan nilang ilagay sa statement ang halaga ng ating mga GS kung sakasakaling ibenta natin ito. Ang presyo na gagamitin sa pag-mark-to-market ay ang kasalukuyang presyo ng partikular na GS mula sa merkado (mga nagbebenta at nag-bo-broker ng GS).

Adhikain ng BSP Circular 392 ay ang maipamahagi ang government securities sa mas nakararaming mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatupad ng mga alituntunin upang pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng mamamayan, kabilang dito ang;

(a) pagkakaroon ng merkado para sa GS na kinabibilangan ng mga retail investors at hindi lamang nga bangko at institutional investors na maaring i-manipulate ang mga presyo ng GS,
(b) hindi mabibihag ang mga bumibili ng GS sa presyo ng pinagbilihan nilang bangko kung sakasakaling mangailangan sila ng pera at hindi makahintay sa maturity date o redemption date ng GS, magkakaroon ng pagpipilian ang mamamayan dahil hindi kontrolado ng binilihan nilang bangko ang 3rd party custodian - ang 'amo' ng 3rd party custodian ay ang mamamayang retail investor,
(k) magkakaroon ng check-and-balance sa mga bangko na nagbebenta at bumibili ng GS dahil alam ng mamamayang retail investor ang tutoong halaga ng hawak nyang GS, hindi sya madadaya ng bangko sa presyohan

Umaasa ang BSP na sa pagpapatupad ng 392 magiging mas-transparent ang mga GSEDs sa tunay na pag-presyo ng GS, magiging tapat ito sa tunay na antas ng 'interest-rates', mapupunta sa mamamayang retail investor ang buong kapakanan ng interest bunga ng pakikibahagi sa GS. May potensyal din na kumita ang may hawak ng GS kung ipapahiram ito sa isang 'reputable' na institusyon na makapagbibigay ng garantiya na maibabalik ang GS kung kakailanganin na at magbabayad ng kaukulang interest sa paghiram sa GS.

Higit sa lahat, binigyan ng BSP 392 ang mga mamamayang retail investor ng pagpipilian bilang 3rd party custodian. And isang 3rd party custodian ay maaaring bangko na pinahintulutan ng BSP na magbigay ng custody services or isang institusyon tulad ng PDTC.

Ang mahalaga sa BSP 392 ay nabigyan ng pansin ang mamamayang retail investor, binigyan sya ng kapangyarihan na piliin ang magtatago, magaalaga at magtatala ng investments nya sa GS, kapangyarihan na pumili ng pagbibilihan at pagbebentahan ng GS naaayon sa kung sino ang may pinakamagandang presyo, at sa hinaharap, maaaring makakuha ng karagdagang interest ang nagmamay-ari ng GS sa pamamagitan ng securities lending program.

Huwag sana nating patayin ang isang magandang ideya dahil sa politika or ilang mga pagkukuru-kuro sa tunay na intensyon ng mga taong nagpapatupad ng programa para sa 3rd party custodian.

Ika nga nila, 'there is more than 1 way to skin a cat'. Intindihin natin ang konsepto ng 3rd party custodian. Matapos natun suriin ang patakarang ito at kung masasasabi nating makabubuti ito para sa lahat, makilahok tayo sa mga talakayan upang makahanap ng pinakamagandang pamamaraan upang maging kaganapan ang konseptong ito.

'nuff said....nakikibahagi lang po sa diskusyon dito.

5:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yoo. interesting style

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