Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill which mandates government offices to adopt digital transaction systems to allow them to pay and receive digital currency.
The measure states that all government agencies, including but not limited to national government agencies (NGAs), foreign-based government agencies, all government corporations, local government units (LGUs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and local universities and colleges (LUCs), are hereby mandated to utilize safe, and efficient digital disbursement.
The digital transactions can be used for payment of goods, services, and other disbursements including but not limited to cash assistance and payments of salaries, wages, allowances, and honoraria of its employees.
Lapid’s bill also states that government entities shall be allowed to disburse funds directly into the recipient’s or beneficiary’s transaction account held in government or private financial institutions without the need for a special arrangement with each of these financial institutions.
The veteran legislator stressed the need for a digital transaction system as concerns about the spread of COVID-19 led many of our countrymen to turn to digital payments to protect them from virus transmission using paper cash and coins.
In fact, according to the 2021 Visa Consumer Payments Attitudes Study, 60 percent of the 1,000 respondents from Manila, Cebu, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan, carried less cash in their wallets and 84 percent of whom tried going cashless.
“Patuloy po ang paglaki ng tiwala ng marami nating kababayan sa tinatawag na digital payments gaya po ng credit cards at e-wallet.”
“Patuloy po ang paglaki ng tiwala ng marami nating kababayan sa tinatawag na digital payments gaya po ng credit cards at e-wallet. Sa katunayan po, may mga LGU po tayo na nakapagbibigay ng ayuda gamit ang e-wallet. Bagama’t pangunahin pa rin ang pag-gamit ng salapi, marapat na po natin tanggapin na magiging permanenteng bahagi po ng ating komersyo ang digital payments,” the seasoned lawmaker explained.
Meanwhile, the bill cites that government entities shall be responsible for preparing the payment instruction with the necessary details, including the recipient’s or beneficiary’s name, transaction account details, and amount.
This will be done after proper authorization in accordance with established accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
Accountable officers of the government entities shall observe due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the recipient’s or beneficiary’s identity.
Uses of government funds through direct crediting shall remain transparent to state auditors.
“Isinusulong ko rin na bigyan ng insentibo ang mga magbibigay ng maayos at mabilis na digital payment system.”
“Mahalagang sumabay ang ating gobyerno sa mga pagbabagong dala ng panahon at mga pagsubok na hinaharap natin gaya ng pandemya. Dapat lang na bigyang prayoridad ng iba’t-ibang ahensya ng gobyerno ang digital payments para himukin ang ating mga kababayan natin na gamitin ito para sa mas ligtas na mga transaksyon at para gawing mas madali na rin ang proseso para sa kanila. Dahil dyan, isinusulong ko rin na bigyan ng insentibo ang mga magbibigay ng maayos at mabilis na digital payment system,” the senator added.
The said measure also mandates the BSP, in collaboration with relevant government entities, to prepare and regularly update a multi-year roadmap on digital payments to ensure the timely implementation and objectives of the bill.
In cases however where there are calamities or emergencies and payments through digital means may be affected, non-digital payout channels should still be in operation.
Also, all digital payments involving government transactions under this measure shall be subject to post-audit of the COA.
There will also be penalties imposed for any person or entity who willfully violates this measure once it becomes a law.
The person or persons responsible for such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) or more than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00) or by imprisonment of not less than two (2) years nor more than ten (10) years, or both, at the discretion of the court.