BACOLOD CITY – This city, together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), launched the Palengke-QR (Quick Response) Ph Plus for the use of digital payments in public markets and transportation hubs, at the Libertad Market here on Tuesday.
The first local government unit in Western Visayas region and the seventh in the country to adopt the program, Bacolod has identified a total of 3,047 market vendors and transport drivers going on board as of end February.
The figures include 1,889 or 78 percent of the registered market vendors and 1,158 or 59 percent of transport drivers, mainly plying tricycles, in the city.
“It is an honor to be with you today as we mark this milestone in our financial inclusion mission. The people of Bacolod can now enjoy the many benefits of cashless payments,” said BSP Deputy Governor for Regional Operations and Advocacy Sector Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the launching rites.
Romulo-Puyat joined Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez in making ceremonial cashless purchases from pandesal and taho vendors, who are among the merchants that have opened transaction accounts with the assistance of participating financial service providers like GCash, Maya and PalawanPay.
The BSP official said that using digital payments can prevent the spread of counterfeit money and the transmission of infectious diseases such as Covid-19.
“The transaction account is also a gateway to other financial services such as savings, insurance and loans,” she added.
DILG-Western Visayas Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero said Bacolod has taken a significant step closer to achieving its goal of becoming a “super city” or “smart city” by promoting the use of technology.
“Not only to ease the delivery of government services but also to empower our micro, small and medium enterprises and consumers, particularly public markets and local transportation hubs, to go digital,” he added.
The Paleng-QR Ph is an initiative of the BSP and the payments industry to have a national QR code standard for digital payments even between different banks or wallet providers to make transactions interoperable and convenient for both merchants and consumers.
Both the BSP and the DILG issued a joint memorandum circular enjoining all LGUs to adopt the use of digital payments in markets, sari-sari stores, tricycle others, consumers and commuters.
Last month, the City Council here passed the Paleng-QR Ph Ordinance authored by Councilor Celia Flor, chair of the committee on markets, to support Benitez’s program of promoting a “smart city” and the national program that builds on the initiative of promoting financial inclusion and cashless transactions in public markets, community stores, and local transportation hubs.
“Maybe I should rephrase ‘smart’ into ‘intelligent’. Let us now move forward into becoming a more intelligent city, a more digital city. Let us digitalize,” Benitez said.(PNA)