He was the first Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which replace the old, debt-ridden, crony infested Central Bank of Philippines of the Marcos period. With the enactment of R.A 7653 on 14 June 1993 duringFVR’s term, bar top-notcher (Atty.) Gabriel “Gabby” C. Singson became not only an outstanding guru of international finance and central banking but, more importantly, an eminent model of efficient and dedicated but modest Philippine public servant that he exemplified in his professional career of more than 42 years.
With his passing away last March 29 at age 87, the Philippines lost a Filipino leader in economic-banking- monetary management who could compete with and hold his own with the best in the world. As corporate Chairman, CEO or Adviser in both the public and private sectors, he mentored the likes of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Philippine National Bank, Philippine Air Lines, John Gokongwei Summit Holdings, and several other international finance groups.
Other little known facts about Gabby which he kept close to his heart were that he and his bosom friend FVR:
• Have the same birthday (Who was younger? Guess?;
• Were from the same hometown Lingayen, Pangasinan;
• Came from the same barangay of Maniboc in Lingayen;
• Went to the same Central Elementary School of Lingayen; and,
• Were two signatories of all Philippine currency notes from 1993-1998.
(Where in the world? Where else, indeed, did it happen? And, figure out the odds of all those coincident happenings involving these two persons.)
Commenting on the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Dr. Michel Camdessus, longest serving Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had this to say about the Philippine team led by Gabby Singson that dealt with the IMF-World Bank: “From the experience of the 1997 Asian Financial crisis, I drew a lesson which remains valid when concentrating on today’s problems- the importance of the Filipino sense of national values and confidence in the nation’s ability to seize opportunities for a better future, even in an adverse environment….”
(Note: As of April 1998, the Philippines had “graduated from” completed/ paid for 22 major loan programs- spanning 35years – with the IMF.)
One more gem of an accomplishment that Gabby did was making ahole-in-one in 1998 at the difficult mountain course at the Mimosa Golf Club in Clark Freeport, Pampanga. This he did with FVR as witness and playing partner.
(So, what are the odds of this happening in the presence of your President? Exponential!)
GABBY SINGSON’S UN-SOLICITED AD-VICE (AGAIN)
“ DON’T WEAKEN OU BANKING SYSTEM, AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF OUR PHILIPPINE PESO. OTHERWISE THE PEOPLE WILL SUFFER!”
(Written on April 3, 2016)
By: FIDEL V. RAMOS