Nearly 2,000 public market vendors, community shopkeepers, and tricycle drivers in Lapu-Lapu City now accept digital payments through the government's Paleng-QR PH Plus program.
Lapu-Lapu City is the first local government unit (LGU) in Cebu to launch the program, enforced through a city ordinance approved in October 2022 and supported by seven financial services providers.
As of Feb. 17, 2023, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said a total of 1,891 market stall vendors, community shopkeepers, and tricycle drivers/operators in Lapu-Lapu City have been onboarded into the program.
She said 65.8% of market stall owners, 390 tricycle drivers/operators, and 1,040 micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the vicinity of the Lapu-Lapu City public market may now accept digital payments.
The target is to make 560 vendors and 3,241 transport group members QR-ready by the end of 2023.
"The people of Lapu-Lapu City can now enjoy the many benefits of cashless payments. Daghang salamat (Thank you very much) to the City Government of Lapu-Lapu for passing the ordinance noong 2022 pa lamang (in 2022 yet)," Puyat said during the launching of the program in Lapu-Lapu City on Feb. 17, 2023.
The LGU drives the implementation of the program, from the issuance of the ordinance enabling the program to the mobilization of resources and ensuring the widespread adoption of digital payments.
Puyat said the Paleng-QR PH Plus program promotes financial inclusion as it helps market vendors, sari-sari store owners, and tricycle and jeepney drivers/operators open an e-money account. To pay, a consumer with an e-money account merely has to scan a QR code.
Having an account with Maya, GCash, and other digital banks establishes an individual's financial transactions pattern and may improve their credit rating, Puyat said.
"The more you use your digital payments, nakikita 'yung transaction history n'yo, puede kayong umutang ng kahit walang collateral (with your transaction history, you may take out a loan even without collateral)," Puyat said.
"Ang maganda rin 'pag may account kayo ay puede kayong makapag-save, makapag-insure, and makapag-invest. 'Yon ang importante (Having an account will also enable you to save, get insurance, and invest. That's important)," she added.
The 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey of the BSP showed that 56% of the adult population in the Philippines has a financial account, nearly double the 29% in 2019.
Puyat noted how digital payments accelerated during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, as Filipinos turned to Maya, GCash and other digital payment gateways to pay for goods and services.
The Paleng-QR PH Plus program was developed by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to promote cashless payments in public markets and tricycles in all LGUs nationwide. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)