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In most cases, local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines serve as the backbone of their community. They are responsible for ensuring that basic services are delivered to their constituents in a timely and efficient manner, and they are often at the forefront of managing any local crises that their communities may face. Whether it’s by establishing peace and order, protecting its citizens from natural disasters such as fires or flooding, or keeping public works and structures well-maintained, LGUs are essential to the health and prosperity of a community.
That said, many LGUs could potentially benefit from the boost that technologies like digital payments provide, thereby improving the services they deliver to their constituents. Here are real-world examples of ways financial technologies and cashless payments have been applied to solve real-world challenges.
Taxes are, for the most part, an unavoidable fact of life. Going through the process of filing them and paying them in a timely manner is often considered a headache. More importantly, spending the time to do this takes people away from more productive pursuits, like reporting to their jobs or spending time with their families.
Some LGUs have already recognized this and have decided to integrate cashless payment solutions like PayMaya Checkout into their websites. This allows citizens to pay for fines, local property taxes, and other dues without having to go to a bank or the city hall to transact. This might even result in an increase in paid fines for the LGU. Some units that have implemented remote payment options have seen an uptick in their collected fines, resulting in more on-hand revenue for the local government.
Cashless transactions on public transport are not a new concept, with Metro Manila’s railway system as the best example of its implementation here in the Philippines. However, this technology needs to be applied across more forms of transportation to extend even further the ease, convenience, and safety of cashless transactions.
Major cities in Asia like Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo have smart card-driven bus transit systems that allow passengers to simply tap their bus card to pay for their fare. This system has been credited with a noticeable decline in reported incidents of ticketing fraud, as well as faster passenger ingress and egress and quicker journey completion times for bus plying their routes.
The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic sent shockwaves through the global community and forced many aspects of life to change. The disease has irrevocably changed how we shop, travel, interact with one another, and most crucially, how we work. In the Philippines, unemployment has risen by an estimated 1.5% since the start of the pandemic, and many Filipinos have struggled to find ways to keep food on the table as a result. Many of these unfortunate individuals had to rely on emergency cash disbursements, conducted with the assistance of the local government.
However, the pandemic itself posed its own unique challenges. Recipients of the emergency cash needed a way to receive the cash safely, and because many banks were closed or could not receive clients on premises, an alternative way to distribute cash on a large scale, while still adhering to community safety protocols, became mission-critical.
Fortunately, the availability of PayMaya provided an easy solution to many LGUs. PayMaya offered multiple options to address the cash-distribution problem, and each one was suited to the locality it was deployed in. In Quezon City, for example, PayMaya accounts preloaded with P2,000 were distributed to city residents, many of whom were seniors, laborers, or single parents.
In the City of Manila, meanwhile, more than 17,000 senior citizens have already received PayMaya enabled local government ID cards. It was an endeavor that began even before the pandemic struck, and its benefits were certainly felt by citizens when community quarantines were put into place in 2020. .After all, the city government’s partnership with PayMaya allowed seniors to receive their benefits from the safety of their own homes, reducing their risk of contracting the disease. On top of receiving aid, the beneficiaries were also able to take advantage of various other financial services upon linking their card to their PayMaya app. These include being able to make card and QR code payments in PayMaya partner stores, being able to send money to other PayMaya users, enjoying easy bills payments, and making cash withdrawals, among others.
Crises like the pandemic have impacted rural and urban communities in vastly different ways. In an urban setting, social distancing and quarantine measures were implemented to prevent the spread of disease, but in agricultural or fisherfolk communities, the pandemic presented a threat to their traditional industries. Many orders for vegetables, rice, fish, meat and other staples were simply canceled as soon as the pandemic hit, a pattern that’s all too familiar to the producers of these goods.
To help their constituents sell their goods, the leadership of Claver, Surigao del Norte, turned to social media and allowed people from as far away as Cagayan de Oro City to purchase their produce. To further support these initiatives, local officials may want to look into adopting a technology like PayMaya Digital Invoice. Using this, producers can easily send payment links to their customers to pay for their goods online using just chat, SMS, or email. They don’t even need to have a website that’s capable of accepting online payments.
On the other hand, for LGUs that host local public markets and other venues where producers can sell their products, the PayMaya ONE and ONE Lite handheld devices offer convenient ways for buyers to pay for their purchases. The PayMaya ONE is equipped with a built-in printer and can produce receipts, while the slimmer PayMaya ONE Lite is more portable and can be used remotely, particularly to enable cashless on delivery transactions. Both devices accept payments made through most major payment card and e-wallet networks.
When used appropriately, technology can expand an LGU’s capacity to serve people by several orders of magnitude. Smart local leaders would definitely look into this to bring better service to their constituents