The Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas–North Luzon Regional Office (BSP-NLRO) through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Paleng-QR Ph plus program, particularly to promote and support the use of QR Ph by the farmers in the region, in line with its mission of empowering the farming communities. The signing was conducted today, April 18, 2023 at the DA-CAR New Conference Hall, Guisad, Baguio City.
Under the MOA, the DA-CAR should adopt necessary policies to mandate or encourage farmers under its jurisdiction to adopt QR Ph payments under the program. The agency should also integrate into its information, education and communication (IEC) campaign the objectives of the program based on inputs from the BSP-NLRO. This will cover a financial literacy program, including key topics such as using digital payments in businesses, financial services for micro and small enterprises, and financial consumer protection.
The Paleng-QR is a program jointly developed by the Department of Interior and Local Government and the BSP, to expand digital payments using a national QR code for safer and more secure financial services and digital transactions on markets and transportation, which is compatible with different banks or wallet providers for smoother transactions both for the merchants and the consumers. This covers mainly the market vendors, community shopkeepers, and tricycle operators and drivers nationwide.
The Paleng-QR plus meanwhile is an expanded coverage of the program in which they included target participants such as farmers and other business establishments not covered in the joint memorandum circular issued last June 2022.
BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat underscored the importance of digital banking. Accordingly, doing digital payment is a game-changer as people can now do cashless transactions even in the comfort of their homes without delay. Digital payment, she added, will immediately reflect on the bank or wallet account, prevent delays in bill payment, reduce face-to-face contact, and avoid counterfeit bills.
“We want you [farmers] to have a financial edge. This will help you manage your businesses and finances better. We also want you to be able to save, invest, be insured, and to borrow loan without collateral,” she added.
In his response message, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey emphasized the significant role of digital banking in agriculture, especially in the current trend of online marketing. He stated that through digital banking, the finances of the farmers will be more transparent for better monitoring of their income to avoid unnecessary expenses.
He also mentioned that the program will be of use for the Department’s several financial assistance programs by providing the technology to the beneficiaries because through digital banking, there will be an assurance that the financial aid is directly received by the beneficiaries.
“On behalf of the DA-CAR, we are very much thankful to the BSP for the opportunity to be able to provide more service to the farmers and make the farming industry more adept and responsive to modern times. We are always open to partnerships with other agencies that will make farmers do their business of producing and selling their products better and easier,” he expressed.
Dir. Odsey acknowledged the young agripreneurs who were present for that they have a crucial role to play in the promotion and in assisting in the program implementation considering that they are more adept in the use of new technology.
Moreover, BSP-NLRO Regional Director Noel Neil Q. Malimban stated that at its very core, the BSP endeavors for a better and more meaningful engagement with their stakeholders. “Such as is a strategy that was driven by fundamental shifts in central banking and very importantly, a profound recognition that the delivery of our mandates rests largely on the support of our partners and stakeholder including and most especially the third pillar of central banking, that is safe, efficient and inclusive payment system. The MOA shall be instrumental in bringing us closer to our vision of a better financially-included agricultural sector in the Cordilleras,” he stated.
This is the first MOA signing by BSP with regional line agencies as their previous launchings of the program were done with selected local government units nationwide. By CEWaytan