GOING DIGITAL. Vendors sell vegetables at a public market in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in this undated photo. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, with help from local governments, is promoting digital payment platforms to develop a cashless economy. (File photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is seeking the help of local government units (LGUs) in Ilocos Norte to encourage market vendors and trike drivers to adopt cashless transactions through its "Paleng-QR" program.

Jointly developed by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the “Paleng-QR”, (a play on the words "palengke" or market and "quick response" or QR code), aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless payments in public markets and local transportation, particularly tricycles.

The BSP is reaching out to the local chief executives and provincial lawmakers to push for the acceptance of digital payments in support of the government’s sustainable agenda and optimize the benefits of e-commerce in the digital age.

Cristamarie Tabilas-Abiva, deputy director of the BSP Regional Operations Sub-sector in Batac, said Tuesday that helping the average Filipino adopt cashless transactions offers a lot of advantages for easier and faster digital payments.

“We want everyone to have better access to financial services and be part of the digital financial community,” Abiva said as she requested the LGUs to help gather market vendors and public transport associations for a public consultation to promote the use of digital payments, either through Globe Telecom’s GCash or Smart Communication’s Maya apps.

After a consultative meeting in Laoag, city mayor Michael Keon pledged to support the program by convening the vendors and stall holders of the Laoag City Public Market and Commercial Complex and the different Tricycle Operators and Drivers Associations in the city.

“Through this program, our vendors and tricycle drivers will have their 'e-wallet' for the processing of digital payment transactions,” he said, adding that the LGUs could also use it to distribute “ayuda" or financial aid to the public.

As of this posting, several commercial establishments in the city and province have shifted to cashless payments. (PNA)