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The Economic and Financial Learning Center (EFLC)

By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

An interactive one-stop shop FOR economic and financial education run by the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will open its doors to the public this month.

The Economic and Financial Learning Center (EFLC), one of the central bank’s biggest programs in its financial literacy crusade, was launched in October and will be fully operational this year.

“The launching of the EFLC symbolizes BSP’s commitment to institutionalize and sustain a comprehensive financial education program for Filipinos,” Monetary Board member Juanita Amatong said.

The EFLC is a one-stop center where researchers, students, visitors and BSP staff may access data and information produced and acquired by the BSP in the areas of central banking, economics and finance. It integrates modern technology by providing information through conventional books and magazines, multimedia formats such as CDs, digitized books and interactive learning modules.

“Through the interactive modes of learning, including computer-based games and multi-media learning tools, we hope that knowledge about economics and finance can become more exciting for visitors,” Amatong said.

The center will also consolidate materials on economic and financial education programs undertaken by various departments of the central bank, including digital archives of BSP video materials to make them more accessible to the public.

Amatong said financial education is crucial for a population that has been traditionally underserved by the financial system, making them more vulnerable to making uninformed financial decisions.

“The financial landscape we are in today is much more complicated than ever,” Amatong said. “As a result, financial know-how has become not just a matter of convenience but an essential tool for ordinary people to cope with normal and abnormal fluctuations in economic activity.”

She noted that lack of financial knowledge could lead to poor financial choices which could be harmful, not only to the individuals concerned, but to the nation at large.

“Regrettably, low-income families that lack basic financial literacy are the most vulnerable to sudden economic shocks. This, in turn, may have significant implications on social dynamics. I believe that through financial education, we can change financial behavior for the better, and ultimately ease social and economic tensions,” she said.

The other steps taken by the BSP to contribute to better financial literacy are the following:

  • Through a partnership with our Department of Education, it has developed teaching guides and pilot tested them in nine regions around the country.
  • It has conducted financial literacy campaigns for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families to inform them of alternative uses of their dollar remittances, including savings, investments in financial products and business ventures as well as to familiarize OFWs with the consumer laws and BSP issuances relating to consumer protection
  • It has also conducted a financial education program for microfinance clients.