The City of Victorias in Negros Occidental launched the “Paleng-QR Ph Plus” in ceremonies held at the Victorias City Commercial Center and Public Market on 11 July 2023.
Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel L. Benitez was joined by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board Member V. Bruce J. Tolentino and Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in launching the program.
“We are very committed to support the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program–from the city center, all the way to the ends of the boundaries of Victorias City. Digitalization is for everyone. This is for the unbanked and underbanked to be better served in our city so that they will be able to have better financial freedom,” Mayor Benitez said.
The BSP along with financial service providers and the City Government of Victorias also conducted QR Ph account onboarding and financial literacy sessions with public market vendors and tricycle drivers’ associations.
Monetary Board Member Tolentino delivered a message of support on behalf of BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. “With the Mayor’s leadership, we will move forward; the hard work of the city council will be rewarded; and the people of Victorias will be positioned to enjoy the benefits of digitalization. We hope that Paleng-QR Ph Plus will accelerate digital payments adoption for greater financial inclusion of all Filipinos,” he said.
Deputy Governor Romulo-Puyat also highlighted the role of local government in promoting the program: “Daghang salamat to the city government of Victorias for passing the resolution in record time. The BSP extends its full support to the local government of Victorias in making the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program here a success.”
The City Government of Victorias expects to onboard over 500 market vendors and nearly 2,000 tricycle drivers to the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program. Prior to the launch, 40 percent of market vendors and 11.3 percent of tricycle drivers in Victorias City had already joined the program. The city council issued an ordinance as well to promote the use of QR Ph in all business establishments in the Victorias City Public Market.
Victorias City is the second local government unit in Western Visayas and the 11th in the Philippines to launch the program after the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Naga, Tagbilaran, Pasig, Lapu-Lapu, and Bacolod; and the towns of Camiling, Tarlac and Carmona, Cavite.
On the sidelines of the Paleng-QR Ph Plus launch, the BSP also conducted the “Piso Caravan” to enable Victoriahanons to exchange unfit banknotes and coins with fresh bills or digital cash. This is in support of the BSP’s Clean Note and Coin Policy as well as its Coin Recirculation Program.
Spearheaded by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program encourages Filipinos to pay for goods and services through QR Ph, the national standard for electronic payments using quick response (QR) codes. By scanning merchants’ QR codes using mobile phones, customers can make payments in a safe, quick, and convenient manner.
The program is among the priority initiatives under the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) 2022-2028. The NSFI emphasizes financial resilience as an end-goal for financial inclusion, recognizing that many Filipinos, especially the poor, are facing increased vulnerabilities from the health crisis, climate change, and inevitable shifts in the economic and labor landscape.
The nationwide implementation of Paleng-QR Ph Plus is in line with the BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020-2023 that aims to transform half of the volume of retail payments in the country into digital form and to onboard 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by this year.
For more details on the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program, log on to https://bit.ly/PQPP_FAQs_E.
For more details on the Piso Caravan and other public information campaigns in the Visayas, contact the BSP Visayas Regional Office at (032) 254-9368 or [email protected].