MANILA – The Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has cleared the way for 3.79 million unbanked registrants to the national identification (ID) system to be part of the formal banking system as of May this year, in step with President Rodrigo Duterte's goal of financial inclusion for all Filipinos. 
 
In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the Landbank said the onboarded 3,794,882 applicants for transaction accounts comprise 47 percent of the 8,047,034 individuals who had registered in the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) from 852 sites in 32 provinces. 
 
As of May 2021, Landbank president-chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said 1,071,177 of the onboarded applicants have received their Landbank Agent Banking Cards (ABCs). 
 
These cards are provided free-of-charge and with no initial deposit requirement to PhilSys applicants in areas where the Landbank has co-located with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Philsys registration sites across the country. 
 
Borromeo said facilitating the opening of bank accounts for PhilSys registrants will help ensure the speedy and efficient delivery of future government assistance programs to unbanked beneficiaries.
 
Landbank earlier hired over 1,000 service contract workers (SCWs) and deployed them to various locations across the country to assist in the opening of transaction accounts for unbanked national ID registrants.
  
Borromeo said the SCWs act as front-liners by attending to various queries and requests relating to the opening of accounts and gathering and verification of client information.
 
She added the SCWs also help to ensure the strict observance of social distancing and health protocols during the registration process and opening of accounts.
  
Landbank’s ABCs can be used by Philsys ID holders to withdraw cash at ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) cash-out terminals, shop online and perform cashless transactions, as well as receive any government subsidy digitally, Borromeo said. 
 
The card is also contactless enabled, which means it can be used for “tap” payments, such as for the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) that the government plans to roll out for public utility vehicles (PUVs).
 
As for the bank’s other digital transformation initiatives, Borromeo reported that since November 2018, a total of 1,602,567 accounts were opened through the bank’s Digital Onboarding System (DOBS), which includes accounts opened for clients of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), a Landbank subsidiary. 
 
For the month of May 2021, accounts opened reached 67,889, or higher than the 59,961 accounts opened in the previous month, Borromeo said. 
 
Borromeo also said there was a sustained increase in the number of transactions using the Landbank Mobile Banking App from 26.01 million transactions last May 2020 to 38.85 million in May 2021. 
 
The total amount of transactions via the app of PHP60.92 billion is 157 percent higher compared to the amount in the same period last year, she said. 
 
Signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in August 2018, the PhilSys Act aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens.
 
The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity that shall be a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and the opening of bank accounts.
 
It also seeks to boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions. (PR)