Financial education among Filipinos will be more effective if students are taught about risks and insurance.
This was the message of Mr. Ramon Dimacali, former chairman of the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (PIRA), when he moderated a panel discussion at the first Financial Education Stakeholders Expo organized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the SMX Convention Center Manila.
"In a disaster-prone country such as ours, where typhoons, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are a part of life, we cannot just teach our people to save and invest. We must also teach them how to protect their hard-earned assets. We must teach them about insurance," he said.
Mr. Dimacali, who is also president and CEO of FPG Insurance and the Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific (IIAP), moderated the discussion on financial education as a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The discussion featured Mr. Dan Wolbert of VISA Foundation, Mr. Mario Deriquito of BDO Foundation, Mr. Shahril Azuar Jimin of Maybank Foundation, Mr. Conrado Bate of COL Financials, and Ms. Sylvia Paraguya of the NATTCO Network of Cooperatives. They presented their respective CSR programs, all aimed at educating various sectors in managing their finances.
Mr. Dimacali lauded the presenters' initiatives, but stressed the importance of risk management.
"We cannot fully help our poor countrymen if we don't help them address their risks. They are the ones who are most vulnerable to typhoons like Yolanda. So they need to be taught that there is already affordable microinsurance available for them," he said.
The Expo was a two-day event designed to be an annual gathering of public and private institutions that implement and support sustainable and effective financial education policies and programs.
Its long-term objective is to build an organized network of players that share the vision of a financially literate citizenry and cohesively implements a variety of initiatives to achieve this vision.
Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones provided the keynote message for the event. She underscored the need to educate teachers on financial management since they will be the ones who will be transferring the same knowledge and skills to their students.
"Most public school teachers are heavily in debt. They are the ones who need to be educated first and foremost if we want to educate our people," she said.
Secretary Briones welcomed PIRA's suggestion to collaborate to include risk management and insurance in the K-12 curriculum.
Other highlights of the event were the talks of the so-called "Fin-Ed Rock Stars" or "Influencers," namely Mr. Francis Kong, Ms. Salve Duplito, Mr. Ardy Roberto, and Mr. Chinkee Tan, all known public speakers specializing in financial literacy.
A major part of the event's last day was the demonstration of the financial literacy board game that The Praxis Company from Malaysia developed. The board game -- which is similar to monopoly -- makes learning more fun and effective.
On the sidelines of the event were booths by various organizations. PIRA's booth was among the most visited. Those who went to PIRA's booth tested their knowledge of insurance in exchange for prizes provided by PIRA member companies. PIRA promoted its programs including the SUITS Scholarship in partnership with IIAP, Campus Tour, Accreditation Seminar, Thesis Sponsorship, and Internship Programs.
The Expo was supported by the Asian Development Bank, Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines, The Praxis Company and Visa Foundation.