UBX, the leading open finance platform in the Philippines, has kicked off the digital transformation of several local governments under the province of Oriental Mindoro – the first digital province in the country powered by UBX – to promote greater financial and social inclusion.
Following the official partnership launch with the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro last month, the City of Calapan and Municipality of Pola are among the first of its local government units (LGUs) to transition to digital.
Born out of the UBX-led Digital Transformation ng Pilipinas (DigiPinas), a multisectoral initiative for digital transformation in the government, UBX is equipping Oriental Mindoro with open finance technology for payments, disbursements, and loans so it can leverage digital solutions for all government transactions – from tax collections, and application processes, to payments.
“Even in its initial stage, we can already see that this partnership with DigiPinas is a success. We have high hopes that this digital transformation initiative will boost Oriental Mindoro’s local economy and that this sets a good example for other provinces to follow,” Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor said.
After immersing itself in the province, UBX has set up a digital payment system for real property tax of the local government via BUx, its payments processing unit. Last month, UBX started the training of local staff at the Provincial Capitol in the City of Calapan and has since started processing transactions.
With the activation of BUx services, taxpayers in the region will have access to an easy, convenient, and secure way to pay their taxes, driving financial inclusion and supporting economic growth in the region.
On the other hand, the Municipality of Pola was surveyed for its path to digitalization, as Pola is also one of platform’s partner LGUs which has been greatly affected by the oil spill.
“Catering to the needs of its constituents is the number one priority of all local governments. Given the recent events in Oriental Mindoro, our initial steps towards the province’s digital transformation could hopefully alleviate some of its burdens in addressing the disaster,” DigiPinas Spokesperson Mikan Leachon said.
Leachon added that beyond the DigiPinas initiative, UBX has also proven itself a strong ally of the provincial government by providing relief for those that were affected by the recent oil spill incident in the area.
With its aim of designing digital solutions which center on its customers, UBX was able to identify pain points and customize solutions based on specific use cases by interviewing and observing employees and residents firsthand. To meet Oriental Mindoro’s needs when it comes to digitization, the provincial government staff was also trained on how to use an all-in-one payment gateway platform, to provide more payment options for their constituents.
“Our onground efforts helped us gain valuable insights which will help us design digital solutions which are specifically tailored for the people of Oriental Mindoro. The challenges on tax payment were a primary concern, and we were able to provide them with a digital system which is already functional and caters to their needs,” Leachon said.
In the long run, after its success with the digital system on tax payments, UBX seeks to enable digitization for transactions on utilities such as electricity and water at the Capitol.
Digital loans for affected businesses and residents, especially those impacted by the oil spill, are also being explored for the benefit of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), such as sari-sari stores, carenderias, and small stalls that rely on loans to sustain their businesses. SeekCap, the online lending platform of UBX, provides entrepreneurs with democratized access to loans that they need to expand their businesses.
“Our initial success with Oriental Mindoro’s digital transformation only goes to show how cooperation is key towards achieving financial and social inclusion. We highly encourage the local government leaders from across the archipelago to pursue the same path. By understanding the local context and working with the community, the government, as powered by UBX, can provide financial solutions that help underserved communities in the Philippines.” UBX President and CEO John Januszczak said.