78% of market vendors in Bacolod registered in Paleng-QR PH program

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), launched the Paleng-QR PH program at the Libertad Public Market in Bacolod City on Tuesday, March 14. (Merlinda Pedrosa photo)
Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), launched the Paleng-QR PH program at the Libertad Public Market in Bacolod City on Tuesday, March 14. (Merlinda Pedrosa photo)

ABOUT 78 percent of the market vendors in Bacolod City are now using the digital financial services, or the Paleng-QR PH program, which was developed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Deputy Governor of BSP, who led the launching of Paleng-QR PH at the Libertad Public Market in Bacolod City on Tuesday, March 14, said that at least 1,889 market vendors were already registered in the Paleng-QR PH program, and 59 percent of the transport drivers in the city were also using the digital payments.

The Paleng-QR, "palengke" or market, and "quick response" or QR code, program aims to maximize the use of digital payments or payments using digital services such as cellphone applications in markets and tricycle hubs through the QR PH initiative.

Romulo-Puyat said the QR PH is an initiative of the BSP and the payments industry to have a national QR code that is standard for digital payments.

"It aims to promote the use of QR codes in digital payments even between different banks or wallet providers, to make such transactions interoperable and convenient for both merchants and consumers," she said.

On June 22, 2022, the BSP and the DILG released a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 Series of 2022 on the Paleng-QR, which established guidelines enjoining local government units’ (LGUs) participation in the Paleng-QR PH Program, in which the letter from the BSP informed that the Bacolod LGU has been included in their priority list to launch this program.

The City Council earlier approved City Ordinance No. 1019, where the city will adopt the QR PH Digital Payments for all business establishments and local transportation in line with the Paleng-QR PH Program.

"Because of the hard work of the local government unit led by Mayor Alfredo Benitez, the people of Bacolod can now enjoy the many benefits of cashless payments. Thank you very much to the City Government for passing the ordinance authored by Councilor Celia Matea Flor, chairperson of the City Council committee on markets," Romulo-Puyat said.

She said the Paleng-QR program will help merchants and their customers, tricycle drivers, and commuters open a transaction account that they can use for digital payments.

"By using digital payments, they can now prevent the spread of counterfeit money and the spread of diseases such as coronavirus disease (Covid-19). They can also use their transaction account to access other financial services such as loans, insurance, and investments," she added.

Romulo-Puyat noted that for the LGUs, it will be easier to provide assistance and other financial benefits directly to the transaction accounts of their constituents.

The Paleng-QR PH partners include GCash, PayMaya Philippines, the Land Bank of the Philippines, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), among others.

However, Romulo-Puyat said the challenges of said program would be for the individual who doesn’t have a smartphone and poor internet signal or connectivity.

She said they are also working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to provide free WiFi in the country.

She added the Paleng-QR PH program was already launched in other cities like Baguio, Davao, Tagbilaran, Bicol, Lapu-Lapu, and Pasig.

"Now, we are here in Bacolod City, and it’s the first Paleng-QR launch in Western Visayas. With this, Bacolod is on track making a digitalize and financially inclusive city. The BSP extends its full support to Bacolod for making the Paleng-QR Ph a success," Romulo-Puyat said.

For his part, Benitez said they want to introduce digital financial services not only to the government offices, but also to the market vendors as well as the transport drivers.

"We are very grateful to be part of this program, and we are very supportive of this. We believe that this is the way to move forward. I would like to encourage everybody to participate and use the Paleng-QR PH program," he said.

He added, "Let’s move forward to become a more intelligent and digital city."

Moreover, Cathlyn Dolor Pavia, Assistant Vice President for Public Sector Partnerships at GCash, said under Paleng-QR PH Plus, vendors, and tricycle drivers can now easily transact with their customers and passengers using QR-based cashless payments powered by GCash, the country’s leading mobile wallet.

She said about 30 percent of the population in Bacolod City is already registered in GCash, and they are continuously exerting effort to help people understand better the advantages and benefits of the electronic wallet, or GCash.

She added that a total of 1,889 public market stalls in the city now accept QR payments for safe and convenient cashless transactions.

Ren-Ren Reyes, Chief Commercial Officer of GCash, said GCash has onboarded 1,772 vendors in Bacolod City as Pera Outlet (PO) partners.

She said this feature on the application allows small merchants to earn extra income and grow their businesses by offering customers in the community convenient access to various GCash services such as Cash-in, Cash-out, Pay Bills, and Send Money.

To further promote the use of cashless transactions, she added that GCash has also set up GTreats booths at the public markets to reward users when they pay using GCash.

"GCash has been a staunch ally of the government’s thrust to build an inclusive digital economy. We believe that the Paleng-QR Ph initiative can help accelerate the country’s digital transformation while ensuring nobody gets left behind," Reyes said.

Powered by its shared vision of "Finance for All", GCash, she said the BSP and DILG have already on-boarded more vendors and tricycle drivers for the Paleng-QR PH plus initiative in various public markets, more recently in Pasig City Mega Market as well as Baguio City Public Market, Bangkerohan Public Market in Davao City, Dao Public Market in Tagbilaran City, Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (AMTODA), and Lapu-Lapu Public Market, all of which now accept GCash cashless payments using QR codes.

She added that the GCash app is available for free on Google Play or the App Store. For more information, visit https://www.gcash.com.*


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