MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the government aims to reduce its cash transactions by 80 percent once the year ends.
“Though the cashless purchase cards and other similar reforms, government transactions should be 100% checkless and 80% cashless before the end of this year,” Aquino said during the Good Governance Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center.
During the Summit, the President boasted the launch of the Cashless Purchase Card, which allows government transactions to be made through electronic means.
“Cashless purchase cards will be issued to agencies, for low-value payments of a restricted number and type of goods and services,” Aquino said.
He said the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of National Defense and the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines would adopt the program during its first phase in the first quarter of 2014.
“A limited number of cards will be distributed to these agencies, with allowable purchases likewise limited to medical supplies, meals, the transportation of official documents, airline tickets, and construction supplies for minor repairs,” he added.
Aquino said it would further be implemented in other national government agencies if things went well.
The President said many incidents of corruption and other problems faced by the government “are rooted in systems and processes that, while they may have served their purpose at one time, are badly outdated.”
“Even worse, they are susceptible to abuse, which could lead to inefficiency, wastage, and opportunities for the unscrupulous to steal from the nation’s coffers,” he said.
Aquino discussed other innovations including the General Appropriations Act as a release document and the Open Data Philippines website that will contain budget and procurement documents, among other things.
“Earlier, when I spoke of upgrading systems and processes, I did not mean this only in a technological sense. We are upgrading in the truest sense of the word—exploring every possible avenue to improve the way we serve our countrymen,” he said.
The President said this came from simply ensuring that programs are fulfilled – by chasing after tax evaders, smugglers, the corrupt and holding them accountable – or by implementing “groundbreaking” changes.
“Groundbreaking in the sense that our administration pursued modernization on an unprecedented scale—for example, in the projects we have launched today,” he said.