Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Saturday welcomed the announcment of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., who on October 27 said that the BSP’s PHILPASS and cash servicing units would remain open during the ASEAN holidays from November 13 to 15.

“The BSP is doing the banking sector, the business sector, and our countrymen a great service by doing this,” said Pimentel, who had earlier urged the BSP to keep PHILPASS––the BSP’s check clearing system––up and running during the ASEAN summit.

“This is a positive developent because it does not make sense for banking and business operations nationwide to be essentially paralyzed just because there is a three-day holiday in the nation’s capital; the Philippines, after all, is not just Metro Manila,” said the senator from Mindanao.

Espenilla on Friday told the media that the BSP “will definitely operate PHILPASS and our cash servicing units during the coming ASEAN holidays.”

According to Pimentel, the BSP Governor’s directive, together with the decision of banks and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to remain open during the ASEAN holidays, would ensure that “the country will be open for business, not just open for ASEAN.”

“Our hosting of the ASEAN summit is an honor and we should all work together to make it a success,” stressed the Senate chief.

“That being said, if there are steps that can be taken to minimize the disruptions in the lives and the livelihoods of our countrymen, then by all means let’s do what has to be done.”

November 13 to 15 have been declared special non-working holidays in Metro Manila, Pampanga and Bulacan as these areas would be most affected by ASEAN events in the National Capital Region and Clark Field, Pampanga.

In addition to this, the Metro Manila Council also announced that classes at all levels would also be suspended on November 16 and 17.

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