Iloilo City adopts BSP-backed digital payments program
MANILA -Iloilo City has joined 14 other local governments in the country to adopt the central bank-backed Paleng-QR plus program and issued an ordinance that promotes digital payments in public markets and local transportation.
This developed as retailers, fintech firms and other advocates of digitalization efforts welcomed the enactment of the Internet Transactions Act in support of e-commerce.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. said in a statement the launch in Iloilo City was as a step toward further digitalizing financial transactions.
Remolona reiterated that the Paleng-QR Ph program empowers the community and eventually, the nation, as it widens opportunities for Filipinos to access financial services.
BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that with the launch in Iloilo City, “more Ilonggos can now enjoy the many benefits of cashless payments.”
A joint program spearheaded by the BSP and Department of Interior and Local Government, Paleng-QR Ph Plus encourages the use of quick response codes as a convenient, safe, and efficient way of making payments in public markets, local transportation, and other establishments.
The program is also among the priority initiatives under the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2022-2028, which serves as a blueprint for accelerating inclusive finance in the country.
The other LGUs across the nation that are already on board are Cotabato City, Baguio, Davao, Tagbilaran, Naga, Lapu-Lapu, Pasig, Carmona, Bacolod, Camiling, Victorias, Mandaue, and Ozamiz.
Meanwhile, advocates of digitalization welcomed the enactment of Republic Act No. 11967 or the Internet Transactions Act, which aims to boost and safeguard e-commerce transactions in the country.
The new law mandates the Department of Trade and Industry through an e-commerce bureau to create an online business database that will provide government and consumers access to information of businesses selling online.
The e-commerce bureau shall also encourage the establishment of an e-commerce trust mark in close collaboration with the private sector and maintain a government-wide online consumer complaint tracking system that will be actively monitored by the DTI.
Robert Claudio, president of the Philippine Retailers Association, said the law will ensure a level playing field between traditional and online retailing, which will benefit Filipino consumers and merchants in the changing omnichannel environment.
The new law “will not only further promote consumer protection and financial education but will also set the standards and institutionalize a code of conduct within the e-commerce ecosystem — a critical component toward a sustainable and inclusive digital economy,” said Lito Villanueva, founding chair of Fintech Alliance Philippines.