Philippines to become digital-heavy, cash-light society
MANILA – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno today said he sees the Philippines as digital-heavy and cash-light society to achieve inclusive growth.
Speaking at a webinar hosted by Asian Development Bank Institute with its Dean Tetsushi Sonobe, Governor Diokno, former Budget Secretary and University of the Philippines Economics professor, expressed optimism 50% of all transactions will be digital by 2023 while 70% of Filipino adults will have formal bank accounts by the same year.
He cited the lack of a national identification card has hindered the government’s program to encourage more people to transact with different agencies, from private banks to other institutions.
Governor Diokno added he sees an increase in foreign remittances as the world economy begins to recover. He added last year’s foreign remittances dipped by 0.8%.
He claimed the Philippines has always been committed to “growing on a sustainable basis” though committed to reducing poverty. He said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines reduced poverty to 14% in 2018 from 25% in 2016.
During the webinar, Governor Diokno said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is mandated to enable safe and accessible financial products and services.
ADBI Vice Chair Peter Morgan said the Philippines is “highly regarded on its programs and strategies to achieve financial inclusion.
The discussion focused on how the pandemic brought people to financial digitalization due to mobility restrictions where more people shifted to digital payments. There were over 4 million new electronic financial accounts were created in the Philippines last year.
Governor Diokno said cybersecurity is a top priority of the BSP as it “seeks to build public trust in digital banking because “digitalization measures go hand in hand with ensuring a safe cybersecurity environment” with fintech institutions with the same regulatory environment as banks.
He added the government is serious in its strategy in further improving internet access in line with the BSP’s goals to expand financial inclusion. Financial literacy is also given due importance with local communities including fishermen and state institutions including the Civil Service and the Philippine National Police.
The webinar is part of the programs prior to the 54th Asian Development Bank’s Virtual Board of Governors’ Meeting from May 3-5,2021. (Melo M. Acuña)