BSP confident Baguio will meet digital payment adoption targets

BSP confident Baguio will meet digital payment adoption targets

(left photo) Paleng-QR Ph Plus PROGRAM. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas North Luzon Regional Office director Noel Neil Q. Malimban expresses confidence in Baguio’s ability to achieve its targets as more establishments in the city adopt digital payments, during the Kapihan sa Baguio on March 14, 2023, at the BSP NLRO Building in Loakan, Baguio City.

(right photo) FREE WIFI ACCESS. Project Lightning, in partnership with the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), connects the Baguio Public Market fast and free with Wifi6 technology, the first in the world that operates through a single access point, during the project launch on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at the Baguio Public Market. (Contributed photo)

BAGUIO CITY – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas North Luzon Regional Office (BSP NLRO) has expressed confidence in Baguio’s ability to meet the targets for the adoption of digital payments.

According to the BSP, the ongoing pandemic has helped accelerate the shift towards digital payments, with more and more Filipinos opting for contactless transactions for safety reasons.

The BSP’s optimism is rooted in the fact that Baguio is one of the cities in the country that has been at the forefront of promoting digital payments.

The city government has actively encouraged the use of cashless transactions, particularly in public markets, transportation, and government transactions.

BSP NLRO Regional Director Noel Neil Q. Malimban said they are targeting more than 3,500 vendors in the Baguio Public Market to adopt the Paleng-QR Ph program, jointly developed by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), that aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless payments in public markets and local transportation.

Malimban said approximately 1,700 public market vendors in Baguio have adopted the program since it was launched in the city on August 14, 2022.

The BSP later introduced the Paleng-QR Ph Plus program branding, which aims to capture the broader target market of the program, to expand digital payment acceptance in every city and municipality in the country.

“Since this is Paleng-QR Plus program already, we are targeting not just the market but also other business establishments,” Malimban stated during the Kapihan Sa Baguio on March 14, 2023, at the BSP NLRO in Loakan, here.

The BSP is also regularly conducting financial literacy campaigns to educate the public about the benefits of digital payments and to address any concerns that people may have about the safety and security of digital transactions.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong has also expressed his support for the BSP’s initiatives.

He emphasized the need for Baguio to adapt to the changing times and to embrace the benefits of digital payments, in light of the ongoing pandemic, as well as for safe, secure, and speedy transactions.

Recently, on Sunday, March 26, 2023, Project Lightning successfully launched Free WiFi access at the Baguio Public Market to address the connectivity challenges that have been preventing vendors from adopting the Paleng-QR Ph program.

With this development, public market vendors and customers can now enjoy free internet access, which will enable them to improve their daily transactions and related activities.

The introduction of this project marks a noteworthy milestone in the city’s journey towards achieving a smart city status.

“Now that we have this (free wifi access), there should be no reason for vendors and marketgoers to say that they are experiencing weak internet signal or connectivity,” the mayor stated in the vernacular.

The mayor emphasized that the recent fire incident at the public market, which displaced around 1,700 stall owners, should serve as a valuable lesson for vendors to recognize the advantages of embracing digital payment systems.

“Maraming nasunog na pera. Kung nilagay [ang pera] sa kanilang e-wallet, sana hindi nasunog ang kanilang pera,” the mayor said.

(The fire resulted in the destruction of a significant amount of money. If the vendors had stored their money in e-wallets, the funds could have been protected from the flames.)

With all these efforts, the BSP NLRO is optimistic that Baguio will meet its targets for the adoption of digital payments. # Merriam del Rosario // FNS

Merriam del Rosario