By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
As Iloilo City public markets get a major revamp, digitalization efforts in the payments system are also on track as the city council pushes business establishments in the city’s public markets to use electronic payments using quick response (QR) codes.
This is after the city council passed an ordinance adopting the Paleng-QR PH Program, an initiative of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The program aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless payments in public markets and local transportation.
The ordinance, which took effect on August 16, covers all permanent market stalls of the following public markets in the city:
- Iloilo Terminal Market
- Iloilo Central Market
- Lapaz Public Market
- Jaro Big Plaza Market
- Jaro Small Public Market
- Mandurriao Public Market
- Arevalo Public Market
All covered establishments may opt to use any financial service providers (FSPs) participating in the city. Some of the FSPs are GCash, Maya, Asia United Bank, Banco de Oro, Landbank of the Philippines, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.
The ordinance noted that covered stores must open and maintain a QR-Ph-ready transaction account or have an account six months after the ordinance’s effectivity.
Consumers or buyers can still opt to pay in cash according to the ordinance.
To fast track its implementation, local government units are urged to facilitate the provision of Wi-Fi connectivity in public areas and community markets and develop an information, education and communication campaign to promote and sustain the objective of the program.
In July 2023, Mayor Jerry Treñas requested the Department of Information and Communications Technology to reinstate the free internet service after he received reports that it is getting inactive for a “quite considerable period” in the city’s plazas and public spaces.
The Paleng-QR PH Program in the city was initially launched at the Iloilo Terminal Market in February this year.