Beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can expect a faster release for the second tranche of their cash subsidies.
The Land Bank of the Philippines will be working with six financial service providers (FSPs) to administer the electronic payment and distribution of emergency subsidies to entitled SAP beneficiaries.
The move is a result of a memorandum of agreement signed on June 30 at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan, Quezon City by DSWD secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista and Landbank president and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo and representatives of the six FSPs – G-Xchange vice president for enterprise business group Jose Luis G. Reyes; PayMaya Philippines CEO Orlando B. Vea; RCBC president and CEO Eugene S. Acevedo; Robinsons Bank president and CEO Elfren Antonio Sarte; Starpay president Lamberto Scarella; and UnionBank president and CEO Edwin R. Bautista.
The signing was witnessed by officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Under the “Multilateral Agreement for the Electronic Payment of SAP Subsidies,” Landbank will facilitate and execute the crediting of the emergency subsidy of the beneficiaries into their respective nominated account in other financial institutions via electronic fund transfer using PesoNet and InstaPay based on instruction and payroll documents provided by DSWD within 24 hours.
Landbank will also credit the program fund in the FSP’s funding accounts maintained with the Landbank Batasan branch or in other financial institution based on the instruction and payroll documents provided by DWSD within 24 hours from receipt of payroll documents.
“Our partnership marks a significant step towards facilitating the immediate, efficient, and secure delivery of emergency subsidy to disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities who are struggling with the challenges posed by Covid-19. We are confident that with six financial service providers onboard for SAP 2, our efforts will be multiplied, resulting to a faster and more efficient delivery of much-needed subsidy to the beneficiaries,” Borromeo said in her message.
The qualified beneficiaries for SAP 2 are the family-beneficiaries of the first tranche who were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). These include the National Capital Region; Region III, except Aurora; Region IV-A; Benguet; Pangasinan; Iloilo; Cebu; Bacolod; Davao City; Albay; and Zamboanga City.
One of the digital payment providers, StarPay, said the initiative will not only advance the government’s push for financial inclusion but will also enable a safe and convenient way for the cash aid disbursement.
“We’ve seen the state of the beneficiaries and want to show them that the support that they receive can be done without the need to fall in line for long periods of time and without the need to go out of their homes. Through the digital distribution of the government subsidy, Starpay envisions to be the first Filipino financial technology firm to spearhead a robust digital financial system that will include the unbanked and underbanked segment of the population,” said Lamberto Scarella, president of Starpay Corporation.
A Filipino-owned fintech company built more than five years ago, Starpay’s app is available at Google Play and Apple App Store where beneficiaries only need to sign in to their newly-created accounts. The app provides users access to services such as e-load and bills payment. Starpay also has partner conduits where users can withdraw their funds if needed.
“This is where technology can also be very instrumental in helping the government identify priorities, opportunities and problem areas of the beneficiaries. The kind of information obtained from the data would guide the government in designing more responsive solutions and policies that would further alleviate poverty,” Scarella said.