A legislator on Saturday called for the swift congressional approval of a House-approved measure that aims to provide last-mile financial connectivity in unbanked communities nationwide through electronic means.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte made the appeal as he stressed that digital transactions are fast becoming the new norm as the country starts to recover from the pandemic-driven economic recession.
Villafuerte said the enactment of House Bill No. 6924 or the proposed Bangko sa Baryo Act will accelerate President Duterte’s goal of financial inclusion for all Filipinos and open new livelihood opportunities in faraway communities either unserved or underserved by the formal banking system.
“We can leverage digital technology to convert convenience stores, pharmacies and other highly accessible retail outlets to act as additional service delivery channels of banks, especially in unbanked communities, by acting swiftly on this measure,” said Villafuerte, a lead author of the proposed Bangko sa Baryo Act.
Citing a study commissioned by the digital banking solutions provider Backbase, Villafuerte said unbanked and underbanked segments in the Philippines are expected to decline to 20 percent of the bankable population because more Filipinos are willing to shift to digital banking amid the pandemic.
Based on the second edition of the Fintech and Digital Banking 2025 (Asia Pacific) IDC report commissioned by Backbase, three out of five or 60 percent of bankable Filipino customers are willing to shift to digital banking.
Villafuerte said the Congress can help the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) meet its target of at least 70 percent of adult Filipinos having bank accounts by December 2022 at the earliest with the swift passage of the proposed Bangko sa Baryo Act.
HB No. 6924 was approved on third and final reading at the lower chamber in August last year.
A counterpart measure has been filed by Sen. Grace Poe that remains pending in the Senate.