Former Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday lauded the new executive order (EO) by President Duterte mandating all government agencies to use digital payments for disbursements and collections, saying the financial inclusion it provides is a big benefit to Filipinos.
“The President’s EO on digital payments is really a good news. This is what we’ve been advocating for quite some time now, and definitely this will make the efficient and more inclusive,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano has been appealing to government agencies to digitize their disbursements to make it easier for people to access state assistance programs amid the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy as well as higher-than-average inflation. “To me, EO 170 is a step towards the right direction. This truly brings government into the 21st century,” he added.
Signed by President Duterte on May 12, 2022, EO 170 orders all government departments, agencies, and other state-run organizations to adopt digital payments for their respective disbursements and collections.
While cash payments and other traditional modes of payment can still be done, government agencies as well as local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to adopt digital payments for their transactions as well.
According to Cayetano, making disbursements available through digital payments will increase the efficiency of government aid programs, allowing Filipinos in need to receive financial assistance without having to queue for hours or deal with fixers or middlemen. The order covers disbursements in the payment of goods and services, the distribution of financial assistance, as well as in the payment of salaries, wages, allowances, and other compensation to employees.
Government collections such as taxes, fees, tolls, and other charges are also covered by the digital payments order.
Cayetano, who is set to be proclaimed as one of 12 new senators by the Commission on Elections on Wednesday, has suggested that departments should use mobile apps to make their disbursement processes more efficient.
Cayetano has often spoken about much-needed assistance being delayed by government red tape, fixers positioned in frontline government agencies, and local politicians who act as mediators between national financial aid programs and their respective constituencies.
Cayetano said one way to cut red tape and reduce corruption is to leverage technology by developing mobile apps that people can use to process government transactions and making it possible to receive financial aid through fintech services like GCash or PayMaya.