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Editorial

Go cashless

The massive corruption attending the pork barrel funds highlights the ease with which unscrupulous individuals steal billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money. The brazen theft of public money is, to some extent, due to the fact that hard cash remains king in all financial dealings in the Philippines. A recent international study cited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last week validated this fact—that 98 percent of all retail financial transactions in the country are being done in cash, creating inefficiencies and leakages in the economy. This is also the reason for the widespread corruption in government agencies where the highest officials down to the lowly clerks easily take bribes or kickbacks in hard cash.

“Imagine the lack of transparency that it generates,” Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla wondered, citing the initial findings of the unreleased study conducted by the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA). The study showed that the Philippines lagged far behind countries like South Korea, where as much as 60 percent of all transactions are “digitized,” or done using credit cards, debit cards and mobile phone wallets. The BTCA is a privately funded organization that promotes the increased use of electronic payment platforms to facilitate transparency in government transactions around the world. The group was launched in September 2012 and was funded initially by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, US Agency for International Development, Visa Inc., Citigroup, and Ford Foundation.

The benefits of going “cashless” are obvious. “Digitized money is [easier to track]. Not only is it more efficient, it’s also more transparent because everything is recorded,” Espenilla explained. The Aquino administration actually embraced the aspiration of the BTCA when it signed up with the coalition late last year. In fact, the billions of pesos in doles under the Conditional Cash Transfer program were already being disbursed using mobile phone wallets with the help of the Philippines’ top telecommunication companies. Last January, the Philippine National Police also switched from checks to electronic payments of the monthly retirement benefits of its more than 50,000 retirees. The use of automated teller machines for pension payments—instead of the traditional check payments—enabled the government to weed out fictitious or “ghost” entries from the PNP pensioner database.

The government has also adopted the Cashless Card Purchase system, which was piloted by the Department of National Defense. This enabled government personnel to use a card linked to an online system for authorized purchases, resulting in the easier monitoring of government transactions, accurate liquidation and auditing, and efficient and transparent financial management in the agency.

Another government initiative is the National Payroll System (NPS), which was tested by six pilot agencies, including the budget and finance departments, the National Competitiveness Council, the Commission on Audit and the Treasury. The NPS sought to facilitate the shift from cash or check payments to an electronic-based salary payment system, eliminating “ghost” entries in the payroll. The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System was also set up to allow the online procurement of supplies and services for government offices.

“Cash-based transactions have long been the norm for our public institutions, but this system has also opened up considerable spaces for irregularity and abuse. We’re tapping digital technology not only to close the gaps that have allowed corruption to take root in the bureaucracy, but also to make service delivery much more efficient than it is now,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad observed, correctly, early this year.

It’s time the Aquino administration ordered the shift to digital transactions for agencies perceived to be highly corrupt. Imagine if all transactions involving the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs, the Land Transportation Office, and local government units are in digital form. Imagine if all transactions among private businesses are also done in e-payments. Then all financial dealings will have an instant record and any misdeed will be easily tracked. Corrupt politicians and public servants will then find it extremely difficult to collect bribes and kickbacks.

There is enough reason to believe that a cashless society will lead to transparency and address the festering corruption in government.


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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=59201

  • captainramius

    CASH LESS, TRANSPARENCY , MORE CONTROLS, NEW PROCEDURES ETC ETC

    TIGILAN NYO NA YAN MGA PROPOSALS NYO

    MAY COA TAYO, DBM , ETC MAY KONG ANO ANO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES DITO AT BLUE RIBBON DOON….

    AT THE END OF THE DAY …. LUSOT PA RING MGA BABOY NA YAN SA SENADO AT TONGRESO

    TINGNAN NYO NA LANG YANG SALN

    HINDI BA YONG SUPREME COURT GUMAWA SARILI NYA RULES PARA E BY PASS YONG SALN

    SO WALA DIN EPEK ??

    MAY TINATAWAG PA FISCAL AUTONOMY YONG SUPREME COURT
    HINDI SILA DAW PAKIALAMAN SA BUDGET NILA SO ANO GINAWA

    BUDGETAN NILA LAHAT NA VACANT POSITIONS FOR THE YEAR ITONG INUTILE NA DBM RELEASE NAMAN NG PERA

    ANG RACKET NILA HINDI NILA FILL UP YONG VACANT POSITIONS FOR THE YEAR SO MAY EXCESS NA BUDGET

    GAYA NI MANONG JOHNNY E DECLARE NILA EXCESS BUDGET AS THEIR BONUSES SA SARILI NILA !!!

    REKLAMO SI ABAD ANO SABI NG SUPREME COURT FISCAL AUTONOMY !!!

    UTOT NILA PERA NATIN YONG DECLARE NILA AS BONUS SA SARILI NILA

    KAYA TIGILAN NYO NA YANG MGA CASH LESS SCHEME ETC WALA DIN YAN EPEK

  • Dagxawin

    Same reason why corrupt people (politicians and rich people alike) don’t like the idea of “national ID system”.

    In Saudi Arabia every transaction (banking, visa, car ownership, internet subscription, etc) is attached to your “iqama” or “national card” which is a very good way in deterring money laundering act and besides an advantage to every citizen who just need to bring one ID card.

    Wala na talaga sigurong pag-asa ang Pilipinas :(

    • magiting78

      ID system is one of the best solusyon to corruption…all bank accounts are link to your ID…all your data are there mas madali ma trace ang mga kawatan….Pero papaano ito maisasagawa..makakaliwa at pulitiko ayaw nito….

  • Descarte5E

    Isang example lang, di ko alam kung may corruption pero improve efficiency sigurado:
    Yung international airport na lang yata sa Pilipinas ang hiwalay na nangungulekta ng airport user fee. Halos lahat ng airport, kahit Vietnam or Cambodia, kasama na sa ticket. Extra pila na minsan aabutin ka ng 30 minutos.

    • magiting78

      Yung sa airport nasa kasunduan ng mga airlines yan at ng gobyerno…ayaw n ng mga airlines ng dagdag trabaho…kc kung isasama nila sa ticket papaano nila ma ihihiwalay yung OFW which meron clang privilage n hnd magbayad ng travel tax at terminal fee….

  • koaks2

    huwag magbayad ng buwis. ano pa ang nanakawin nila.

    • captainramius

      CORRECT KA DYAN!!!

    • magiting78

      panong hnd ka mag babayad ng buwis…kung empleyado ka automatiko ang deduction…kung negosyante ka naman pag renew mo ng lisensya automatiko din…pag hnd ka nag bayad kakasuhan ka plus penalty….The best think to do..lahat ng mamayan pumunta sa kongresso at senado at sabay sabay pugutan ng ulo tong mga gunggong na ito at ng mag mukhang sardians walang ulo…lol

  • AlexanderAmproz

    The Problem lies by the Banks never respecting the anti-laundering laws
    they need tough penalties to understand it.
    Any decent country is doing it, but not in the Philippines.

    The Parliament refused theses laws, but the International community forced them to be accepted otherwise any electronic transactions would have been cut, no more OFWs remittances, only cash and carry.
    The Lawmakers swallowed it like a snake, the Law is existing, but never applied !

    • eight_log

      Look at BSP … they NEVER IMPLEMENT the rules until the bank collapses … this year alone 12 rural banks had collapsed leaving depositors in quandary and PDIC shouldering loses …. Walang Pakialam ang BSP … hindi naman nila pera at meron namang sumasagot …. kumikita pa nga sila!!!!

  • eight_log

    That is the trend nowadays …. kickbacks are given via ATM cards … only Napoles handled cash … hindi pa polished …. kita naman sa interview …. hahahaha!!!!

    • Descarte5E

      Sa totoo lang may nakausap ako kumuha sya ng worker Pinas, nagagalit sya kasi di pa rin pinasakay ng eroplano ng immigration officer kahit nakapag deposit na raw sya sa account ng Im. Off. Ganyan ang corruption ngayon, walang paper trail. Lalo na kung overseas ang account, papaano mahahabol yon?

      • eight_log

        Kaya nga kinakailangan ang national ID … lahat ng transactions nakatali sa ID … kung sino ang mag open ng banck account nakatali ang ID … pagkumuha ka ng atm nakatali sa id …. hindi madali ang corruption!

      • Descarte5E

        Aprub!

  • Simpleng_ofw

    Meanwhile in other media outlets, it’s reported that one Congressman really didn’t receive 3 billion in PDAF outlay as alleged in the PDI report, and that the Tongressmen couldn’t have received more than the maximum allowable amount of 70 million each per year. DBM secretary Abad had cleared this up, but the PDI is not prone to reporting and rectifying the mistakes made by the COA. As expected, it fueled people’s anger some more by blowing up the exaggerated reports. I’m for fighting corruption in this country, but unlike other people, I won’t make sweeping generalizations. Let’s first have a really clear picture of the thievery, identify the culprits and if possible hang them. But first, let’s catch Napoles for she can shed light to this issue.

  • disqus_vU1klyrdjb

    Cashless is a joke. It cannot work for the whole country, no one can deny this, yet. Cashless makes it easier for those in control to steal money easier, especially if the bank is on their side. Cashless also assumes the value of money is a belief, and infinite. Unlike physical gold, which has a limited amount, similar to a bitcoin.



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