The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the chair of the country's Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, is supporting the digitalization of micro-entrepreneurs by actively pushing for a robust digital finance infrastructure.
"Picture a fisherman at sea doing pera padala, paying loans or receiving payments with his phone, just as he would use GPS to check the weather or navigate the seas. The possibilities are endless," said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno during a recent Microfinance Council of the Philippines conference.
A key initiative in this regard is the rollout of the Philippine Identification System ID, a key identity document that will enable more unbanked Filipinos to gain access to the formal financial system, as well as allow them to enjoy digital payment services.
"Our micro-entrepreneurs, nanays and tatays can approach microfinance institutions to open an account and secure credit with just their Philsys ID. Onboarding will be more cost-efficient too for our service providers," said Diokno.
The BSP is also boosting whole-of-government efforts to diversify the broadband market so that Filipinos across the country can have affordable internet connectivity and digital financial services available to them.
"We have begun with steps to encourage the adoption of satellite broadband. Microfinance institutions can save on IT costs, automate processes, and enhance delivery of financial services in the last mile through this technology,” he said.
The BSP supported the issuance of Executive Order No. 127 “Expanding the Provision of Internet Services through Inclusive Access to Satellite Services” which allows small service providers to directly access satellite systems to build broadband facilities.
Under the EO, entities such as cable TV operators and utility cooperatives can operate their own satellite broadband facilities to serve local communities.
The microfinance community has made digitalization a major priority. Based on a rapid survey conducted last year, 96 percent of microfinance institutions cited digital payments as a primary initiative, followed by 72 percent citing app or online platform launching.