Bunye: A tribute to Val Araneta, Monetary Board member

Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

THE Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilpinas paid its final tribute last week to one of its own, Valentin A. Araneta, who passed away last February 21 just a week after his 69th birthday.

He is survived by his widow Charimen and children Nicole and Robert Boyle, Jose and Michelle and Matthew.

A seasoned banker, Araneta joined the Monetary Board in July 2014. At various times, he previously served at PDCP, Bancom, BNP, PNB, RCBC, Metrobank, and PDIC.

Araneta's remains were briefly brought to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas office last Friday for a mass and necrological rites, attended by incumbent and past members of the Monetary Board, as well as officers and staff of the BSP.

In a speech read for him by Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd N. TuaƱo Amador, BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said that he and his wife Tess were immensely saddened that "Val was gone too soon. Val passed at 69... with two more years to go in his term as member of the Monetary Board... a Board that he served faithfully and excellently."

Espenilla said he first had the opportunity and privilege to work and serve with Araneta when they were both members of the PDIC board.

At that time, Araneta was PDIC president and Espenilla represented the BSP as alternate board member.

Espenilla said that he was very impressed by the quality of Val's reasoning and deep understanding of banking. When the proper time came, Espenilla said he was among those who readily endorsed Araneta to be considered a member of the Monetary Board.

Current MB members Felipe M. Medalla, Juan D. De Zuniga Jr., Peter B. Favila, and Antonio S. Abacan Jr. also recalled their association with Araneta.

They all had good words for Araneta, whom they described as a seasoned banker, a strategic thinker, one who had a very good grasp of economics, humble and soft-spoken, a loyal Ateneo basketball fan, a gentle giant in the basketball but who could play the role of enforcer if his team mates got a raw deal from the other team. On a lighter note, Favila described Araneta as a very meticulous golfer who could drive the ball 200 yards (when he hits it).

One of Araneta's closest friends in the MB, Favila choked with emotion when he recalled Araneta's magnanimity. Favila once served as president of PNB where Araneta was then a most senior executive.

During his first stint at the MB, Favila was assigned one of the choicest rooms in the 5th Floor of the BSP 5 Storey Building -- Room 510, also known as the Clinton Room. The room was rich in history.

Not only was it the room of former Deputy Governor/later Governor Gabriel Singson.

A plaque installed at the room's entrance commemorates its importance, to wit:

"On November 24, 1996, this room was used by United States President William Jefferson Clinton as his office while waiting for his scheduled bilateral meetings with People's Republic of China President Jiang Zemin, Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Republic of Korea President Kim Young Sam.

"President Clinton came to the Philippines to attend the 1996 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit of Leaders."

Araneta joined the MB in 2014, the year Favila finished his term. At that time, Favila welcomed Araneta to the Clinton Room.

In 2017, Favila rejoined the MB. Araneta told Favila that the latter could have his old room back anytime Favila wanted it.

Favila was so touched by the gesture but he declined the offer.

A firm believer and advocate of financial literacy for the grassroots, Araneta, then president of PDIC, caused to be published and circulated, both in print and online, "USAPANG PERA: MGA DAPAT ALAMIN, A PDIC GUIDEBOOK ON BASIC BANKING & FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS."

Written by Elfren L. Cruz for PDIC, the guidebook discusses the basic principles of money, saving, banking investments, and deposit insurance and are meant to guide the average Filipino in making well-informed and effective financial decisions.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who sits in the Monetary Board as national government representative, presented to Araneta's widow a Resolution of Condolence by Members of the Monetary Board.

Val's son, Jose Jorge Carlos S. Araneta, responded for the family. It is said that no amount of success can compensate for failure at home. It was evident from Jose's testimony that his father succeeded not just outside, but more important, inside the home.

Jose recalled that growing up in Pokfulam, Hong Kong, (where Araneta was then an expat for PNB), his father always had time to carry him on his back no matter how tired he was from the punishing HK schedule. Jose also savored those memorable hikes to Victoria Peak with his father.

Val will surely be missed by his family, by the BSP, as well as the many institutions that he has served and the many people whose lives he touched in so many ways.

Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@gmail.com. You may also "like" us on Facebook at "Speaking Out."