MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – Local treasurers called on the attention of the Land Bank of the Philippines to address the continuing problem of cashless or offline Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Mountain Province.
Provincial Treasurer Cawed A. Gamonnac, during the Regional Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors (REGATA) year end conference, relayed the plight of the ATM holders before the invited LBP officials of Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet to fix and install additional units to accommodate more clients especially the beneficiaries of the Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and considering also that the mode of payments of salaries of officials and employees in some of the local governments are done thru the paperless machines.
The treasurer added that cash in the ATMs should be replenished anytime including Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays to minimize out of cash status resulting to complaints from the clients.
Some clients also request the government-owned bank and the country’s fourth largest financial institution to return the maximum withdrawal amount from P 30,000.00 to P 50,000.00. Accordingly, the request will ease the burden especially the employees from the far flung areas of the province, whose salaries range from P 50,000.00 and above who have to go through multiple transactions to withdraw their earnings.
It is to be noted that the Provincial Government of Mountain Province has shifted from traditional payroll system of distributing cash stuffed in envelopes to ATM last July 2018 for less paper works on the part of the government, and to give convenient for the officials and employees to withdraw their salary anytime and anywhere.
In an interview with the Land Bank Branch Manager, Engineer Inaro Dumpayan, he said that as far as Bontoc Branch is concerned, the machines have been replenished from time to time even during weekends and holiday seasons. He admitted that there are instances where the loading of machines were delayed which is beyond their control. These are due to force majeure, technical faults/machine breakdown to network problem and power failure with some customers reporting cases of ATM cash dispense error, and to the fact that Bontoc Branch has no available armored car to transport the money from the nearest cash centers located at Baguio & San Fernando City, La Union.
Dumpayan added that in as much as they would like to increase the maximum withdrawable amount of P 30,000.00, it is beyond their control because of the system. He advised the clients that they can have their transaction over the counter.
As to the installation of more machines, the manager said that their office had requested one (1) ATM unit at the Bangko Sentral ng Plipinas to accommodate more customers and he is optimistic that it will be installed next year.
It has been observed that long queues at the Automated Teller Machines have become a common sight especially during festive periods all over the countries especially during Christmas and New Year seasons.
“What we can assure the public of is that there was no hacking and no breach of our systems,” bank officials said, explaining that they opted to shut down ATM and electronic banking services to ensure that clients’ data are not compromised.
Meanwhile, local treasurers are appealing to the higher authorities of Land Bank of the Philippines, being one of the depository banks of LGUs, and some agencies concerned to heed to the clamor of the constituents of this province to increase the volume of cash in the machines of LBP branch at the local level for smooth and continuous flow of financial transactions considering that other local governments were recommended and planning to go for automated machine transactions.
By Alfred Macalling