MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday said banking operations will be suspended in Metro Manila in light for the duration of Pope Francis’ visit to the country later this week.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. issued Memorandum No. M-2015-003 to clarify that only the Philippine Payments and Settlements System (PhilPaSS) and the BSP Manila head office and Quezon City Security Plant Complex will be closed on Thursday, January 15, and Friday, January 16, 2015. However, all regional offices and branches outside Metro Manila will be open.
Furthermore, the Foreign exchange (Forex) or swap transactions, as well as open-market operations – transactions in repurchase or reverse repo agreements and special deposit accounts – would also be suspended.
On Monday, January 19, which is the last day of the Pope’s visit, the BSP said PhilPaSS will be open, along with its regional offices and branches. The BSP Cash Department at the Security Plant Complex will also be opened that day to transact cash withdrawals.
The reserve position computed at the close of the business week on January 14th will be carried up to the 19th as the special non-working days during the pope’s visit are considered non-reserve days.
“All banks and non-banks with quasi-banking functions are advised to make the necessary prior arrangements to ensure smooth operations leading to and immediately after the dates covered by Proclamation No. 936.”
The BSP’s turnabout comes after Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) chief executive Hans B. Sicat warned that sudden declarations of non-working holidays would impair the country’s competitiveness, turning off investors in the stock market.
Meanwhile, the Bank of the Philippine Islands announced all BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank branches in National Capital Region (NCR) will be closed on January 15, 16 and 19, 2015. However, all branches outside the Metropolitan Manila shall have regular banking operations, BPI said. Mall branches and kiosks with Saturday and Sunday operations will be open during the holiday weekend, the Ayala-led bank added.