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When you think of the cashless revolution in the Philippines, it’s usually private institutions like banks and retail conglomerates that come to mind. But did you know that government bodies are also actively pursuing a shift to cashless payments for public services? Indeed, Philippine government agencies and local government units (LGUs) have begun harnessing cashless technologies to fulfill their mandates. Their shift to the cashless route has been well received, as cashless payment methods have also made life easier for ordinary Filipinos.
On the side of local government, some LGUs have proven exemplary at utilizing cashless methods for their programs. Here are the stories of five Metro Manila LGUs that have tapped the power of cashless payments and spurred a more convenient way of doing things for their respective constituencies.
Early on, the local government of Valenzuela City realized the potential of cashless methods in improving the quality of life of Valenzuelanos. In 2018, the city rolled out the first of its cashless payment initiatives, the DigiPalengke of the North project. This project allowed Valenzuela City residents to pay for items at the New Marulas Public Market by scanning PayMaya QR codes with their phones. That same year, Valenzuela City also launched an ID card system powered by PayMaya, called the Valenzuela Ako ID Card. The card doubles as an official ID and a payment card for various transactions in the city’s cashless payment network.
In addition, the LGU partnered with PayMaya for its Paspas business permit application system. Through the Paspas system, entrepreneurs can settle their business permit fees using their PayMaya e-wallets or payment cards. All they need to do is use the PayMaya Checkout facility on the city government’s official website.
From the Valenzuela City government, other LGUs can learn the value of being early adopters of cashless technology. Thanks to the LGU’s early efforts, it wasn’t as hard for Valenzuelanos to adjust to a cashless lifestyle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Manila has also incorporated cashless technologies into its various programs. Examples include the use of PayMaya to expedite financial assistance to senior citizen beneficiaries and Manila’s cashless Kadiwa stores, which accept PayMaya QR payments.
The Manila City LGU kicked off its cashless disbursement program for seniors back in 2019. In the early months of 2020, this decision to go cashless proved extremely fortuitous to elderly beneficiaries. The LGU was able to forward three months’ worth of stipends to the PayMaya accounts of about 9,000 senior citizens with PayMaya citizen ID cards. This meant that the elderly had a quicker and safer way to receive funds for their basic needs. To date, the City of Manila has already disbursed more than PHP 13 million in aid to senior residents using PayMaya.
The city also launched cashless roving stores, called Kadiwa stores, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These stores sell discounted essential goods to Manila residents and accept QR code payments straight from buyers’ e-wallets. Kadiwa stores also use the PayMaya ONE point-of-sale device to conduct cashless, touchless payments for the safety and convenience of buyers.
Provision of Assistance to Quezon City Residents in Need Using Cashless Technology
Quezon City was another early adopter of PayMaya cashless technologies. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city government sought to extend the reach of its cashless payment network even further. One keystone effort is the Kalingang QC social amelioration program, which includes the following beneficiaries:
These beneficiaries can register on the QC E-Services portal, an online payout site, and choose PayMaya as a payout option. Financial assistance from the city will then be disbursed straight to their e-wallets. This eliminates the need to journey to Quezon City Hall, which is oftentimes a difficult trip for these constituents to make. Once the funds have been received, citizens can either send digital currency to their families or to billers that accept PayMaya. They can also encash the funds in one of QC’s 30,000 Smart Padala payment centers.
Caloocan City, on the other hand, explored cashless technologies to support the needs of its scholars. In May of 2020, 13,000 University of Caloocan City students received immediate financial aid through their PayMaya accounts via a digital voucher system.
As soon as they received an SMS notification, students were able to claim digital vouchers and get their stipend credited directly into their PayMaya accounts. They had the option to use digital currency to pay for load or groceries, or even to send the money to other family members using PayMaya. There was also the option to encash this amount in one of the 800 Smart Padala centers located in the city.
Caloocan City will likely continue to utilize cashless technologies like these for its students, as well as other beneficiaries. This LGU serves as a good example to local government policymakers who want to ensure a good education for their student residents.
Pasig City has also used PayMaya cashless technologies for its social amelioration programs, for beneficiaries like scholars, senior citizens, and PWDs. The city government, hailed for its responsiveness and progressive approaches, chooses PayMaya for the disbursement of online ayuda. This is a supplement to the LGU’s house-to-house activities in an attempt to decongest crowds at Pasig City Hall.
PayMaya is also an important component of Pasig City’s loan program, Tulong at Pampuhunang Ayuda Para sa Taga-Pasig (TAPAT). Under this program, there are three types of loans:
All cash loans are released using PayMaya for full contactless convenience to borrowers. This particular use of cashless technology makes it easier for Pasigueño residents and business owners to bounce back from extremely difficult circumstances.
These five LGUs are by no means the only ones that have started using cashless technologies for the provision of government services. In recent months, many others all over the country have followed suit. Cashless technologies can be a means to respond quickly to constituents’ needs, minimize red tape, and inspire greater transparency in fund allocation. For these five Metro Manila LGUs, the pursuit of innovation sets a precedent for better governance in the future. Hopefully, more local governments in the Philippines can take their example and embrace the advantages of cashless technologies for their citizens.