MANILA – To ensure the efficient and prompt delivery of future government financial assistance programs, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian broached the idea of having each Filipino owning one bank account.
“Ngayon meron na tayong national ID. May isang batas akong gustong i-file na may kaugnayan sa national ID, ang tawag ko dito ay “One Filipino, One Bank Account (Now that we have national identification, I want to file a bill that something to do with national ID, I call it “One Filipino, One Bank Account),” Gatchalian said in a news release on Sunday.
He said the government should make “mandatory” for every Filipino to have a bank account.
“Importante na gumamit na tayo ng teknolohiya. Kapag ganitong may pandemya, remit na lang nang remit sa bank account at doon tatanggap ng ayuda, bahala ka na kung paano mo gagamitin ang ayuda na ‘yun (It is now important to use technology. If we have this kind of pandemic, cash aid will be remitted to bank account, it is up to the beneficiaries to use the assistance),” he said. “Even the people dispensing the cash might get infected with Covid-19. Who will then dispense the money?”
Gatchalian, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, said owning a bank account should be considered a basic requirement among Filipinos, regardless of the individual’s socio-economic class.
With over 74 million Filipinos already using smartphones as of 2019, Gatchalian said contactless and cashless payments can be made possible through the use of their mobile phone units as digital wallets.
Through the use of software applications installed in smartphones, payments can be made through scanning or card readers, he added.
A financial inclusion survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 2019 showed that 51.2 million Filipino adults remain unbanked or 71 percent of the total adult population.
The lack of enough money is the topmost reason for not having a bank account, followed by the perceived lack of need for an account (27 percent), and lack of documentary requirements (26 percent), the poll added.
The same BSP survey showed that access to technology has increased awareness of online payments with 38 percent of adults reported owning a smartphone while 42 percent use the internet at least once a month. Of the 42 percent, 86 percent connect to the internet via their mobile data.
The BSP said such access to technology has given way to awareness of online payment methods.
Latest records from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), meanwhile, showed that 82 percent of the 10.5 million initial registrants to the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), or the national ID system, indicated that they do not have bank accounts.
The PSA has set its target registrations to 70 million this year. (PR)