Saturday, June 22, 2024

Baguio City is first LGU to roll out Paleng-QR PH program

Baguio City became the first local government unit to launch on Sunday, Aug. 14, the government’s Paleng-QR PH program, which was co-developed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in support of financial inclusion and digitalization.

Officials from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, city government of Baguio, and the Department of Interior and Local Government gathered to celebrate the launch of Paleng-QR PH in Baguio City. Photo shows (from left) Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong, Department of Tourism CAR regional director Jovita Ganongan, BSP deputy governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Monetary Board member Peter Favila, BSP governor Felipe Medalla, Baguio congressman Marquez Go, councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, DILG CAR regional director Araceli San Jose, councilor Leandro Yangot, and DILG Baguio field office city director Millicent Cariño

Paleng-QR PH aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless payments in public markets and public transportation. The program underscores the significance of local market purchases and transportation fares as basic components of a Filipino’s day-to-day payment pattern.

The launch was held in Malcolm Square, located across the Baguio City Public Market, where financial service providers (FSPs) set up booths to assist market vendors and shop owners in opening transaction accounts and printing quick response (QR) codes for their stalls.

In his speech, BSP governor Felipe M. Medalla cited Baguio City’s efforts in promoting cashless payments. “Baguio has not taken one step, it already has taken many steps. The city’s strong digital transformation strategy makes it an even stronger champion for digital finance,” Medalla said.

The BSP said it stands ready to extend the needed support for the successful implementation of the program— be it in the form of technical assistance, resource sharing for financial literacy programs, and other Paleng-QR PH post-launch activities.

“We are truly excited to roll out the Paleng-QR Ph here in Baguio city and we look forward to everyone’s support for the successful implementation of this program- not just in Baguio but all throughout the Philippines,” Medalla added, as he thanked Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong for supporting the program and advocating financial inclusion. Mayor Magalong is the secretary-general of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP).

For his part, Baguio City mayor Magalong said that Paleng-QR PH is aligned with the city’s digital transformation goals.

“Digital technology mainly gives us all a renewed sense of purpose. What we are doing now with this launching and what we are envisioning is a big idea that will bring about unprecedented change. We have entered the age of innovation, and we need to adapt to the fast-paced world of digital transformation,” said Magalong.

DILG secretary Benjamin C. Abalos expressed his support for the Paleng-QR PH in Baguio City as this program can help improve the city’s collection systems, eliminate malpractices, speed up payment, and ensure integrity and transparency in transactions; and help protect public health amid the pandemic.

“With the Covid-19 virus still present, the institutionalization of digitization initiatives should also be given a push to fully utilize advances in technology,” Abalos said.

Prior to formally launching the program, the Baguio City council had issued a resolution expressing the city’s support for the Paleng-QR PH initiative, in line with the joint memorandum circular (JMC) issued by the BSP and DILG in June 2022. The JMC aims to institutionalize and promote the implementation of Paleng-QR PH by local government units (LGUs) across the country.

The city government of Baguio also plans to go beyond a resolution of support by passing an incentives program as well for the adoption of the Paleng-QR PH program. The city council has passed on first reading a proposed ordinance that provides an incentive to all business owners who shall provide QR PH as an alternative mode of payment.

Under the ordinance, a five-percent discount on all fees, licenses, permits and or taxes in connection with the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the market stall subject to the rules and regulations of the city council in the first three years of the Paleng-QR PH program. The five-percent discount also applies to stall rental or rights in the first year of adoption.

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