Amidst the new normal in higher education, the Partido Institute of Economics (PIE) of the College of Business and Management (CBM) organized the 2nd Economics Kick-Off and Alternative Class Offering (EKONACO) via Zoom and Facebook Live on August 20, 2020, with Ms. Sarah Amabelle A. Milla, Bank Officer V, Department of Economic Research of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as the resource person.
This year’s EKONACO is dubbed “The BSP’s Policy Response to Support the National Government’s Pandemic Policy Interventions.” EKONACO is among the academic activities organized by the PIE for the enrichment of the Bachelor of Science in Economics (BSEcon) curriculum. Such activities are aligned with the university’s vision and mission as well as the Philippines’ long-term vision, dubbed Ambisyon Natin 2040, that “by 2040, Filipinos enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life.”
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno shared messages to the participants. In a recorded speech, VP Robredo stressed that it has become more important for us to study and reimagine economics under the challenge of COVID-19. “Our task is to pull together with the rest of society, with our communities, our leaders, our medical front liners, and every Filipino, and focus all our energies in forging the best path towards a better normal. I know you will be up to this task and be examples of generations of economists and Filipinos in the years to come,” added Robredo.
Governor Diokno commended “PSU leadership for providing students in Camarines Sur the opportunity to pursue economics as their field of study.” The BSP governor believes the BSEcon program is a “timely addition to the PSU’s academic offerings as it would have an impact on efforts to nurture interest in the field and produce future economist.” “Surely, the Bicol region and the country will benefit from development programs generated by the PIE,” he added.
In her lecture, Milla shared how the BSP complements to efforts made by other government agencies in the fight against the pandemic and the economic crisis. While BSP’s primary mandate is the formulation of monetary policy to cushion adverse effects of the lockdown on businesses, the central bank has also initiated measures that directly help individuals and business organizations, especially in cashless payments and access to cheaper loans. The BSP has cut its policy interest rate from 3.75% in February 2020 to 2.25% in August 2020 to encourage borrowing by businesses to boost the economy.
The key points of the lecture include the following: (1) the BSP has promptly implemented measures to ease liquidity constraints, restore business confidence, and sustain flow of credit; (2) the BSP has implemented a package of regulatory and operational relief measures to provide incentives to BSP-supervised financial institutions to ensure continued access to credit and unhampered delivery of financial services, including extension of financial relief to borrowers; and (3) while initiatives have been undertaken to stave off a steeper economic contraction, the BSP stands ready to deploy further policy support should circumstances warrant.
The lecture was followed by an open forum where Ms. Milla answered the questions from the participants, most of whom are BSEcon students. PIE Director Bulao presented a certificate of appreciation to Ms. Milla for her generosity in sharing her time and knowledge with the faculty and students of PSU.
The activity’s lady of ceremony was Economics student Nicole Asor. Other BSEcon students led the opening prayer, introduced the resource person, and recited the PSU Vision, Mission, and Core Values. PIE Director and BS Economics Program Director Rolan Jon Bulao expressed his profoundest gratitude to Milla, the PSU administration, his colleagues, economics students, and other individuals who made the activity a success. He underscored the importance of the activity in the university’s pursuit of excellence in both instruction and research, especially in the BSEcon program.