CASHLESS PAYMENT: ‘Paleng-QR Ph Plus’ launched in Iloilo City

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and officials from the Bangko Central ng Pilipinas lead the launching of the Paleng-QR Ph Plus on November 23, 2023. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Electronic payments using quick response (QR) codes will now become the norm in wet markets and tricycles in Iloilo City, following the launch of Paleng-QR Ph Plus on Thursday.

“[The Paleng-QR Ph Plus] places significant transition of cashless transaction on market purchasing and local transportation through acceptable digital payment over-the-counter,” said Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.

In April of this year, the city council passed an ordinance adopting the Paleng-QR PH Program, a joint initiative by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“This is a milestone in making the city of love more digitalized and financially-inclusive,” said BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Romulo-Puyat highlighted that with cashless payments, financial transactions become sanitary and convenient, as well as reducing the circulation of counterfeit currency.

“The Paleng-QR PH plus offers many benefits. First, cashless payments are sanitary which will help the Ilonggos avoid catching diseases like COVID-19 […] Customers can also easily pay for goods and services by scanning QR codes using their phones,” she explained.

The BSP official also emphasized that it enables vendors and suppliers to have financial footprints in which the tracking of financial records by banks and financial service providers will facilitate the former in obtaining loans without the need for collaterals and decreased interest rates.

Romulo-Puyat also announced that as of November 2023, there are 1,629 vendors in the Iloilo Terminal Market and 1,870 tricycles in Iloilo City were already onboarded in the Paleng-QR Ph Plus.

Eli Remolona Jr., chairman of the Monetary Board and BSP governor, encouraged local government units to adopt the use of QR codes and digital payment applications to maximize economic opportunities through inclusion.

“By using digital payment applications, business owners and their customers can expand their digital financial footprint. This will give them access to a wider range of financial services such as credit, savings, insurance and investments,” he added.

In the city ordinance, all permanent market stalls of the following public markets in the city are mandated to open and maintain a QR-Ph-ready transaction account. The public markets include Iloilo Terminal Market, Iloilo Central Market, Lapaz Public Market, Jaro Big Plaza Market, Jaro Small Public Market, Mandurriao Public Market, and Arevalo Public Market.

All covered establishments may opt to use any financial service providers participating in the city. Some of the FSPs are GCash, Maya, Starpay, Asia United Bank, Banco de Oro, and Landbank of the Philippines.