BY Ben O. de Vera
Having shepherded borrowings and ensured the fiscal health of the public sector for most of her government career, National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon has accepted a new role as one of the Philippines’ top decision-makers in monetary policy.
De Leon had often told business journalists covering her during the weekly treasury bills and bonds auctions that her dream was to become a part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Monetary Board — a dream that finally came true on Saturday.
After two months of three vacant positions on the Monetary Board, Malacañang finally announced the appointment of two new members to the BSP’s highest policy-making body: De Leon and economist Romeo Bernardo — confirming what banking industry insiders had known for some time, even though the official announcement had been long-delayed.
One slot remains vacant to complete the seven-person Monetary Board, chaired by BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr. The board’s other members include Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who serves as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s representative on the board; agriculture expert and economist V. Bruce Tolentino; and banker Anita Linda Aquino.
Deputy Treasurer Sharon Almanza, who recently returned to Manila after a two-year stint as a senior advisor and alternate executive director at the Washington-based multilateral lender World Bank, is reportedly set to assume the top position at the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).
Both De Leon and Bernardo have extensive experience in government service. Bernardo had previously served as an undersecretary at the Department of Finance (DOF). According to sources, Bernardo’s appointment to the Monetary Board was supported by the Ayala Group, owned by the bilyonaryo Zobel family — he currently serves as a non-executive director at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
De Leon, meanwhile, served as Treasurer of the Philippines under Presidents Benigno Aquino III, Rodrigo Duterte, and Marcos Jr., a position more commonly referred to as ‘TOP’ among DOF personnel. She also held the role of chief of staff for former finance secretary Margarito Teves during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
In a statement, De Leon expressed her profound honor at being entrusted with the prestigious role of Monetary Board member at the BSP.
“I recognize the significant impact my decisions in this role can have on the lives of our fellow Filipinos. I am committed to working towards financial stability, fostering growth, and contributing to the overall well-being of our nation,” De Leon said.
According to the press statement, De Leon aims to “contribute her expertise in shaping monetary policies, managing foreign reserves, and ensuring the stability of the country’s banking system.”
Furthermore, De Leon said she is committed to consistently promoting the growth and diversification of the domestic capital market.”
The statement also highlighted that under De Leon’s leadership, the Philippine government had “developed effective borrowing strategies and implemented credit enhancements to ensure access to the most cost-effective financing options.”
“As [a former] undersecretary for the DOF’s international finance group (IFG), [De Leon] successfully oversaw various significant transactions, including the issuance of global peso notes and several liability management exercises. These exercises effectively reduced the Philippine government’s funding costs, extended maturity profiles, and converted foreign exchange liabilities into local currency,” the press statement added.
As a high-ranking DOF official, De Leon served as an alternate executive director representing a group of countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, the Philippines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, at the World Bank Group. She also served as an advisor to the executive director of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank.