BSP underscores access to banking, financial services

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, deputy governor of Regional Operations and Advocacy Sector of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), speaks at the Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Digital Financial Inclusion held at the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation Building in Bacolod City Friday. (Glazyl Y. Masculino Photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) held a Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Digital Financial Inclusion to emphasize to Bacolodnons the importance of having access to banking and financial services.

BSP deputy governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Regional Operations and Advocacy Sector, who was the keynote speaker in the forum held at the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation Building along San Sebastian-Verbena Streets here Friday last week, said they wanted to ensure that every Filipino especially here in the City of Smiles, gets an equal chance to participate in their expanding digital economy.

“We believed that in financial inclusion, everyone should have access to banking and financial services,” Puyat said in her message.

However, there are those who still have no access to banking because of some circumstances such as they don’t have enough funds, and the process is quite complicated, according to Puyat.

Puyat said that banking and financial services are not only a savings vehicle but a tool to make their life convenient for them to achieve their life goals such as education, retirement, and emergency.

As part of their initiatives to push for digital economy, she recalled that the cities of Bacolod and Victorias in Negros Occidental have launched the PalengQR Plus to promote QR code payments instead of using cash in the markets.

She said that she is hopeful that the cities of Cadiz and Talisay in the province will also launch the same soon, adding that 50 local government units (LGUs) have already issued PalengQR code ordinances in the Philippines.

She said that this project is in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to enable LGUs nationwide to experience the convenience and security of payments via QR code.

“Today, we do not just aim to impart information about our programs and initiatives, but to gain also insights from you as well. We want to hear from you so that we can work together,” she said.

She said that through this activity, the BSP could exert all efforts to ensure that all Filipinos have bank accounts.

Mynard Bryan Mojica, acting director of BSP Financial Inclusion Office, explained that financial inclusion is a state wherein there is effective access to a wide range of financial products and services by all Filipinos.

Mojica noted that financial inclusion matters because financial services are tools that can help individuals and households achieve their life aspirations and financial goals.

For Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Mojica said that financial services increase productivity, and competitiveness, and also increase livelihood opportunities for the community.

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change highlighted the need for access to resilience building tools.

Financial inclusion can support inclusive and susbstantial economic growth, he added.

Meanwhile, Puyat said the government has a national strategy for financial inclusion of 2022 and 2028.

She said they want to promote inclusive digital finance, adding that the BSP provides an enabling regulatory environment for financial inclusion.

Dr. Gregorio Baccay III, bank officer V of the BSP Visayas Regional Office, also discussed in the forum the common types of fraud and scams, and cyber hygiene practices.

Atty. Rachel Barbosa-Salva, bank officer V of the BSP Consumer Protection and Market Conduct Office, tackled about the overview of the financial consumer protection act and its implementing rules and regulations.

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