BSP cites efforts to strengthen rural banks at PH economic briefing in Cebu

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) continues to help strengthen rural banks (RBs) which promote countryside development by financing productive activities and supporting inclusive economic growth.

BSP Deputy Governor (DG) Francisco G. Dakila Jr. highlighted this during the Post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) on 11 August 2023 in Cebu City.

He said the BSP launched the Rural Banking Strengthening Program (RBSP) to enable RBs to respond to the “changing socioeconomic conditions and regulatory environment with developments such as increasing digitalization across economic sectors.”

In particular, the BSP aims to boost RBs’ digitalization of their services, resource upgrading, adoption of better risk management systems, management of operational costs, resilience against shocks, and meet prudential standards. (For more information on the RBSP, visit

The BSP encourages banks—including RBs—to widen their market reach via new technologies and digital platforms to foster efficient delivery of financial services in their communities.

DG Dakila joined the panel discussion on “A Fast Growing and Forward-Looking Economy” with Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Department of Budget and Management Secretary (DBM) Amenah F. Pangandaman, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Joseph J. Capuno, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Regional Governor for Central Visayas Melanie C. Ng.

In his keynote, Secretary Diokno highlighted that the Visayas played a significant role in the country’s economic recovery with Western Visayas having the highest gross regional domestic product growth rate at 9.3 percent in 2022. He also cited the impressive growth performance of Central and Eastern Visayas last year at 7.6 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

The PEB in Cebu gathered over 600 participants from the business and financial communities, academe, civil society organizations, media, and local government units. It is part of the post-SONA domestic roadshow that aims to update stakeholders on the Philippine economy and the administration’s programs for regional development.

Other cabinet secretaries who joined the PEB Cebu discussions were Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla, and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John E. Uy. Also present at the briefing were Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Marlo L. Iringan, Public-Private Partnership Center (PPPC) Executive Director Ma. Cynthia C. Hernandez, Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Genevieve E. Velicaria-Guevarra, Head of the Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CCPDO) Joseph Michael P. Espina, and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Charles Kenneth Co.