Tagbilaran City first to adopt Paleng-QR Ph in Visayas

By Helen Castaño | 05:39 PM January 10, 2023

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) rolled out the first Paleng-QR Ph in Tagbilaran City on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to promote financial inclusion and digitalization across the country.

The BSP’s Paleng-QR Ph program will further increase cashless payments in public markets and local transportation such as tricycle hubs.

Tagbilaran City is the first local government unit (LGU) in Bohol and in the Visayas to implement the program co-developed by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The launch gathered key officials from BSP led Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, deputy director of Regional Operations and Advocacy Sector, DILG, GCash, Tagbilaran city government unit (LGU), and market stakeholders.

The Paleng-QR Ph program, jointly developed by BSP and DILG, aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless QR payments in public markets and local transportation, particularly tricycles.

Capitalizing on the QR Ph initiative, the program, which was launched in June 2022, seeks the policy championship and enjoins LGUs to push for the acceptance of digital payments among market vendors, community shopkeepers, and tricycle operators and drivers (TODA) in all cities and municipalities in the country.

Expressing her optimism on the program’s rollout in Tagbilaran, Mayor Jane Yap pointed out that this is an important breakthrough in the City’s financial inclusion efforts.

“We welcome this milestone partnership with GCash, especially since we, at the City Government, have been supporting the City’s efforts towards digitalization. This is an important step to achieving that goal. With this collaboration, we are optimistic of the economic benefits that it will bring especially to our Boholano vendors,” Yap said.

Several financial service providers were also on hand to assist market vendors and public utility vehicle drivers with opening transaction accounts and printing quick response codes.

“Under this partnership, our merchants at the Dao Public Market and the rest of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Tagbilaran City are enjoined to display their GCash QR code at their stores with the statement ‘We accept GCash here’. This way, we are empowering our small vendors to adopt cashless transactions in our efforts to boost digitalization in how they do business,” Martha Sazon, chief executive officer of GCash, said during the launch.

With the program’s entry to Bohol, Sazon noted that they have so far onboarded a total of 5 public markets, 133 market vendors in Dao, and 155 TODAs to allow payment through GCash.

Currently, there are about 138 active GCash Pera Outlets where GCash users can cash in and cash out.

GCash QR codes deployed as of January 10, 2023 are all operational and widely used by locals and tourists. GCash to GCash transactions continue to remain free of charge ensuring convenience to its patrons.

“We fully support the Paleng-QR initiative of the government because we believe that in order for Filipinos to really adopt cashless transactions, the natural place to introduce this is where they usually spend their money – the wet markets or “palengkes”. We aim to enable more Filipinos to thrive in this digital era,” Sazon explained.

By using the GCash app, merchants can easily receive and transfer money securely and conveniently with just a few taps on their smartphone, saving them time and effort. In the same way, it is also convenient for customers who use digital and cashless payment.

“We have definitely made progress in this program. We are on the right track in making financial services easier to access and understand through our GCash app. With this long-term partnership, we aim to create a brighter, more financially-inclusive future for Filipinos,” added Sazon.

Currently, GCash has over 71 million users nationwide, giving Filipinos easy access to savings, loans, investments, and insurance.

GCash was recognized by The Asian Banker (TAB) and by the IDC in 2021 for its outstanding digital financial inclusion programs.

Maya, the country’s all-in-one digital banking and money app, is making cashless transactions a lot easier in public markets nationwide with the rollout of the Paleng-QR initiative in Bohol.

Maya has transformed Bohol’s Tagbilaran City Public Market into adigi-palengkein today’s ceremonies.
“Small merchants and Filipino consumers are not only enjoying a hassle-free payment experience for their everyday transactions with Maya QR but also creating a financial footprint that allows them to access more advanced banking services offered by Maya,” said Mar Lazaro, Maya’s Head of Enterprise Business.

Since QR Ph’s launch in 2019 for person-to-person (P2P) payments and in 2021 for person-to-merchant (P2M) payments, Maya has led the charge among financial institutions in the rollout of the QR Ph national standard and now counts over 800,000 merchant touchpoints powered by QR Ph-capable Maya QR. “Basta QR Ph, pwede kami,”Lazaro added.

Building ‘digi-palengkes’ nationwide is part of Maya’s own LGUs Embracing and Accelerating Digitalization (L.E.A.D). Through this program, LGUs encourage local merchants and constituents to digitalize their transactions with Maya’s business-in-a-box payment solutions and disbursement tools.

On top of digitalizing public markets, Maya has become the growth partner of choice of Philippine businesses. These enterprises include pharmacies, transportation, travel, retail stores, public utilities, food, hospitals, service providers, and schools. 

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