The administration is 100 percent behind a program developed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which aims to maximize the use of digital payments using devices such as mobile phone apps in markets and tricycle hubs.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his support for the Paleng-QR Ph initiative on Thursday during a meeting at the Palace with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Digital Infrastructure Cluster to discuss recommendations to further improve the country’s digital infrastructure.
“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. fully supports the Paleng-QR Ph Plus Initiative and wants government agencies to educate Filipinos on the use of e-wallet and other digital payment apps to prop up economic activities, particularly with the inclusion of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” said Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil.
PSAC member Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom, who met with the President, described the use of quick response (QR) codes and other digital payment apps as something like a “home run” for the government, saying that they are excited to start serving the public markets using QR codes.
The meeting was attended by Union Digital President and CEO Henry Rhoel Aguda, Bank of the Philippines Islands COO Ramon Jocson and PLDT Inc. President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio.
The e-commerce platforms and the BSP have teams going around the country conducting information and education campaigns on Paleng-QR Ph Plus, which was launched in 2022 in different cities and local government units (LGUs).
“We have to do it. It’s a grassroots level approach. There are also videos on YouTube and we also have Tiktok to get people to educate themselves. And if you use the app regularly, you will see it being offered to you on the app,” Cu said, noting the country’s very high rate of technology adoption.
The adoption of QR codes and use of digital payment apps will make savings and loan applications in banks a lot easier for the public, especially the farmers, fishers and small businesses, PSAC members said.
At the same time, the government could eliminate the “5-6” or usurious lending and similar money lending businesses thus driving down the cost of running small businesses, which are the main drivers of the economy.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla expressed support for the project.
“Mr. President, this one has a big impact on financial inclusion because the problem is there’s no way for banks to assess their credit scores, but if we have a digital database with their payment habits, that will be a substitute and a good proxy for credit scoring. This actually helps in the financial inclusion advocacy of the BSP and the government.”
Aside from rallying support for Paleng-QR Ph Plus Initiative, PSAC made new recommendations for the President’s approval.
Among these are the adoption of the National Cybersecurity Plan (NCSP) 2023-2028 and the Connectivity Index Rating System.
The National Cybersecurity Plan 2023-2028 aims to provide a safe and reliable cyberspace for all Filipinos and create future cybersecurity projects between the government and the private sector.
The Connectivity Index Rating, on the other hand, is patterned after the hotel industry’s star rating system, which allows citizens to rate public establishments on their internet quality based on criteria such as adequate infrastructure capacity and internet speed.
The PSAC also sought an amendment to the National Building Code of the Philippines to make connectivity a priority in buildings and developments, same as electricity and water.
The council also recommended that the Development Academy of the Philippines, in partnership with the National University of Singapore-Institute of Systems Science, conduct a Philippine Civil
Service Digital Leadership Program for mid-level to senior civil servants on digital leadership and agile thinking.
It also recommended strengthening the integration of public financial management information systems and streamlining its processes to enhance the management of government financial resources through an integrated digital system.