BSP Launches Paleng-QR Ph Program

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officially launched Paleng-QR Ph in Baguio City, Manila Bulletin reported. 

The initiative aims to popularize the use of mobile devices when paying in public markets and public transportation, particularly tricycles. By scanning QR codes provided in vendor’s stalls and drivers’ vehicles, customers can make digital payments and do away with cash, which can help in curbing health risks amid the pandemic.

Paleng-QR Ph is under the QR Ph initiative, which aims to establish a national QR code for digital payments. The goal of the program is to strengthen the use of QR codes in digital payments between digital banks and wallet providers.

Partnership with Local Government Units (LGUs)

The implementation of the Paleng-QR Ph program is at the local government level. The BSP and DILG signed a joint memorandum circular last June 2022, urging all LGUs to participate in the initiative.

Under the program, LGUs are expected to issue an ordinance encouraging vendors and tricycle operators to accept digital payments using QR codes. 

The local officials will also help stakeholders open a transaction account, such as an online bank or an e-wallet, which will receive the QR Ph payments. This will be done through the “account opening day,” which the LGU will organize, in partnership with financial service providers or FSPs, namely banks and e-wallet providers.

These FSPs will set up customer assistance booths and distribute QR code printouts to vendors during the account opening day.

For its part, the DILG will provide technical assistance to LGUs regarding account onboarding, digital payments, and financial literacy. They will also help BSP in their efforts to increase awareness of the program and fast-track adoption of other cities and towns in the country.

Benefits to Stakeholders

The Paleng-QR Ph program is expected to help vendors, tricycle drivers, and customers keep up with the new normal of digital payments. With cashless payments, stakeholders can avoid counterfeit money and reduce physical contact with others, which can help curb the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.

According to the BSP, the transaction account can likewise give users easy access to financial services, such as loans, insurance, and investments.

Meanwhile, for the participating LGUs, the Paleng-QR Ph program can help facilitate a more efficient distribution of financial assistance. The aid can go straight to the constituents’ transaction accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Paleng-QR Ph

The BSP provides answers to vendors’ FAQs about Paleng-QR Ph:

  • I’m a vendor but has no valid ID. Can I still open a transaction account? Vendors who have no valid ID can coordinate with their respective LGUs for assistance. The local officials will issue a certification for the account opening.
  • I’m a customer, not a vendor. Can I still join the account opening day? Yes, customers are actually encouraged to open a transaction account to make digital payments the norm when doing transactions in public spaces.
  • Has my LGU already adopted Paleng-QR Ph? As of writing, Baguio is the only city that has implemented Paleng-QR Ph, as it’s the pilot site for the program. More local government units are expected to follow suit. Vendors can reach out to their local officials to know if the Paleng-QR program was already implemented in their locale.

The Future with Digital-Powered Cities

Commending Baguio City’s Smart City program, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said that the launch of the Paleng-QR Ph program in the summer capital is “testing in the right city,” as mentioned in this Inquirer report. 

A digital automation system, the Smart City program uses artificial intelligence to provide public services, including maintaining peace and order, managing traffic, and identifying disaster risk factors, among many others.

In other parts of the country, LGUs are stepping up their commitment to make cities smarter and provide public services using digital technologies. Makati, for one, is expected to adopt a smart transportation system, as it goes green and reinforces climate action. New Clark City is touted as the model for an intelligent, sustainable metropolis in the country.

While cities become tech-enabled, homes are getting smarter as well. In the upcoming The Outlook 2022: Philippine Real Estate Conference, the homes of the future will be among the key topics prominent thought leaders will discuss. The in-person event will happen on August 31, 2022. 

Those interested in joining the conference can book tickets here.

Sources: Manila Bulletin, Inquirer

Photo via DepositPhotos

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