City of San Fernando, Pampanga— The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Region 3 took center stage at a press conference dubbed “Kapihan With BSP”, emphasizing the central bank’s vital role in financial stability and its innovative approach to digital payments.
“It’s valuable to educate the public in partnership with the media about the BSP’s economic significance beyond its conventional perception as a banking institution and we really advocate for a transition to digital payment solutions among consumers for more efficient and convenient financial services” said Atty. Ronaldo Bermudez, BSP Area Director, San Fernando Pampanga Branch.
The media were warmly welcomed by Rodora Teresa Openiano, Regional Economic Affairs Staff, BSP North Luzon Regional Office.
Role of the BSP in the economy
Acting Director Arnel Adrian Salva, BSP Economic & Financial Learning Office (EFLO), explained the primary objective of the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) is to maintain price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable growth of the economy and employment. It shall also promote and maintain monetary stability and the convertibility of the peso.
He added that according to Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) 7653 or the New Central Bank Act, the BSP functions as the Philippines’ central monetary authority. The BSP operates as an independent and accountable body that enjoys fiscal and administrative autonomy, despite being a government corporation. Nonetheless, its functions and privileges are established and protected by law. It also enjoys corporate powers.
Salva furthered that RA 7653 also states that the primary objective and responsibility of the BSP is to “provide policy directions in the areas of money, banking, and credit.” In line with its vision to promote a strong financial system and maintain price stability, its main functions and operations are the following: (1) Liquidity management; (2) Currency issue; (3) Banks’ lender of last resort; (4) Financial supervision; (4) Determine exchange rate policy; (4) and Financial advisor.
BSP intensifies efforts to promote digital payments
The orientation spotlighted the BSP’s digital payment initiatives, offering consumers quicker, secure, and more convenient payment options. Additionally, it provides businesses the opportunity to enhance efficiency by lowering operational expenses, while government agencies can reduce inefficiencies and increase transparency, minimizing potential discrepancies.
Bank Officer V Aldwin Nacional, BSP Payments Policy & Development Department (PPDD emphasized that increased availability of digital financial services has expanded financial inclusion, and the chances to encourage the use of digital payments have become more widespread. Although people turned to digital payments, particularly during the pandemic, for safety and convenience, there was also a surge in cases of scams and related fraudulent activities.
The primary factor deterring people from embracing digital payments is the fear of scams. However, this risk can be mitigated by maintaining vigilance regarding potential threats. Ensuring the safety of digital financial transactions is a collective responsibility.
The BSP has urged account owners to secure their online financial transactions by not entertaining strange or suspicious messages or persons and by having exclusive knowledge and use of their passwords.
Nacional emphasized, “Avoid sharing OTPs, use robust passwords, and refrain from using easily guessable codes like birthdays.’ The BSP encourages account holders to implement the two-step verification process, regularly review transaction records, promptly report any suspicious activities, and activate alert notifications.”
The BSP targets to digitize at least 50 percent of all retail payments and bring 70 percent of adult Filipinos into the financial system this year.
Maureen Franco, head of the BSP Payments Policy and Development Department, reported an increasing trend in the share of digital total payments volume in the country, rising from 10 percent in 2018 to 14 percent in 2019; 20.1 percent in 2020; 30.3 percent in 2021; and 42.1 percent in 2022.
From 20.9 million e–wallet accounts among Filipinos in 2019, the BSP recorded 42.9 million accounts in 2021 or an increase of 56 percent. Most of these accounts were used for mobile payments. The BSP heads reiterated that digital payment is no longer the future but the present.