QUEZON CITY, October 14, 2021— In Commemoration of the House of Representatives 114th Anniversary, the Committee on Rural Development headed by Chairperson Hon. Elsa T. Kho in partnership with the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) conducted a webinar on Rural Financial Inclusion and Literacy Program with the theme: `Kayang Kaya sa Gitna ng Pandemia´ on October 11, 2021.
More than 300 attendees from the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) stakeholders, farmers, and fisherfolk from the national, regional and provincial level participated in the historical commemoration.
“We are continuously working on measures to sustain the government in financial inclusion and ensure availability and equal opportunity in the access to financial services,” as stated by Hon. Elisa Kho.
Likewise, DA Secretary William D. Dar urged his fellow government workers to empower the unserved and underserved small farmers and fisherfolk by assisting them in availing DA’s financial services.
As lecturers, representatives from the BSP focused on reaching the communities in the countryside.
Since SAAD’s beneficiaries are rural farmers and fisherfolk, the event was timely as it highlighted the importance of simple and convenient access to financial services in providing timely assistance as well as ways of saving, budgeting, and investing to sustain, secure, and improve their livelihood and become agripreneurs.
About the Topic
To be financially included, a transaction account is needed. The account can be a bank or electronic money (e-money) account from financial service providers monitored by BSP.
Due to requirements and restrictions brought by the pandemic, accessibility to the accounts has been a challenge. Cash is also the preferred mode of payment in the country.
BSP primarily prioritizes digitalization to make financial services and products readily available to everyone.
The benefits of digitalization include:
- low transaction costs,
- security or protection from fraud and theft,
- empowerment to consumers including the marginalized sector,
- improved livelihood opportunities and economy,
- financial system stability, and
- wider client base for financial service providers.
In a 2019 survey about digital payment, the Philippines has a high mobile phone and internet access penetration – 69% uses mobile phones and 53% have access to the internet. Even with these numbers, only 12% of mobile phone users and 9% of internet users use the technology for financial transactions.
It is important to spread awareness that digital assets are in the hands of the consumers and the technology can be used for transactions.
BSP provides programs on the proper ways of saving, budgeting, and investing money. It also gives information about scam and fraud.
Collaborating with other agencies and stakeholders, lecturers are trained to teach in rural areas. BSP also created the BSP Online Buddy (BOB) – a consumer protection chatbot ready to help with people’s financial consumer concerns and questions.
“Ang pinakamahalagang layunin po ng financial inclusion ay mag-ipon. Mag-ipon ng pera, mamuhunan, magsimula ng maliit na negosyo para sa benepisyo ng ekonomiya,” shared Congressman Alfred delos Santos, author of House Bill 7452 or the Rural Financial Inclusion and Literacy Act. ###
Writer: Bill Narag, PR & COMMS OFFICER SAAD-NPMO