By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Both the government and the private sector welcome the
promotion of digital payments as the way forward in providing
Filipinos with a fast, safe, and efficient way of making transactions
in the country.
As the author of Senate Bill 1764 or the Use of Digital Payments Act,
Senator Sonny Angara said there was widespread support for the
adoption of digital payments for government and private transactions,
“for as long as there are adequate safeguards in place to protect our
“Instituting digital payments, particularly in all government
agencies, offices, and local government units are consistent with the
thrust to promote ease of doing business. This will also go a long way
in ensuring the efficient delivery of services to the people,” Angara
“Consumers have experienced the convenience of making digital
payments—be it for buying goods, the payment of services or their
monthly bills. Now we want to provide Filipinos the option of doing
the same for their transactions with the government so that physically
going to and lining up at city hall or other offices will no longer be
necessary,” Angara added.
During the first hearing on the bill by the Committee on Banks,
Financial Institutions and Currencies Sub-Committee on SBN 1764, the
government and private sector stakeholders provided their inputs on
the bill, which Angara said will be taken into consideration in the
crafting of the committee report.
The National Economic and Development Authority noted that the bill is
in line with the strategies adopted in the Updated Philippine
Development Plan 2017-2022 and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP)
Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2023.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the adoption
of digital payments is exceedingly significant in line with the need
for contactless transactions through financial technologies in
transitioning to the new normal.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the objective of the bill is aligned
with the BSP’s roadmap converting at least 50 percent of the volume of
retail payments into digital form and having at least 70 percent of
Filipino adults onboarded to the formal financial system by 2023.
The BSP believes the bill can contribute to the improvement of the
country’s status in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report by
lowering transaction costs and reducing the time needed to transact
with the government.
Commission on Audit Chairman Michael Aguinaldo said the use of various
ICT platforms for digital payments in government operations will
increase efficiency and decrease the room for corrupt practices
through personal interactions with public officials.
Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the bill
will make it easier for taxpayers to settle their taxes and fees.
In its position paper, the Joint Foreign Chambers and Philippine
Business Groups aired their support for the measure, saying the shift to
digital and cashless payments will enable the government to save some $100
million or P5 billion annually.
They said that digital payments not only lower transaction costs, but
are environment friendly and reduces resistance and barriers to more
Filipinos owning financial transaction accounts.
Coins.ph/DC Pay CEO Nuaman Mustafa said he expects the measure to fast
track the development of the digital payments industry in the country
and boost the reputation of electronic money issuers as a safe and
convenient platform for all consumers.
For CIO Foundation Forum chairman George Kintanar, the bill is
considerably timely under the new normal promotes fast and more
orderly transactions and ensures greater transparency and security in
government financial transactions.
SB 1764 mandates the utilization of digital payment in the collection
of taxes, fees, tolls, imposes and other revenues and in the payment
of goods, services, and other disbursements.
Angara said the bill will also facilitate the transfer of government
payments such as the cash aid provided to targeted recipients during
the enhanced community quarantine by directly transferring the money
into their bank or digital accounts.
The House of Representatives has already approved its own version of
the measure in House Bill 8992 filed by Bataan Rep. Joet Garcia. (ai/mtvn)