Small banks and microfinance tap RCBC’s ATM Go

Published April 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


Rural banks, cooperatives and microfinance institutions have banded together for a faster dis-bursement of the government’s ₱200 billion emergency subsidy to 18 million Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), MASS-SPECC Cooperative Development Center (MASS-SPECC), the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), CIS Bayad Center Inc., and Rizal Commercial Bank¬ing Corp. (RCBC) have agreed to use its combined network and customer touchpoints as an alternative option.

The group, calling their collaboration “Damayang Sam¬bayanihan: Hatid-Ayuda sa Kababayan” will use RCBC’s pocket and mobile ATM Go.

“We heed the call of President Duterte for the private sector to complement government’s effort in containing the pandemic and providing relief to those severely affected,” said RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo.

The recently signed Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act empowered the government to release welfare funding of ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 to low income households. Delivering this subsidy to 18 million Filipinos is however a logistic challenge.

RBAP President Roberto Abello said they are ready to utilize their branch network of 2,700 to send the cash to its beneficiaries and to also assist in the “countryside pump priming needed to address this global pandemic and local quarantine.”

“This is our collective action in solidarity with the nation in crisis,” said RCBC Executive Vice President Lito Villanueva.

In the meantime, NATCCO CEO Sylvia Paraguya said it will be beneficial and useful for rural-based cooperatives to “join (the) bigger community in the use of digital channels to reach out to more people in these trying times.”

MASS SPEC CEO Bernadette Toledo said the cooperation is also aiming to reach Southern Philippines, especially in hard-to-reach areas within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We are extending our assistance through our network in making payout facility available to our people especially during this critical time. And, this collaboration will make it more effective and expansive,” said Bayad Center president and CEO Manny Tuazon.

The whole of Luzon, starting with Metro Manila, and later all of the Philippines were placed under a month-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“With the limited mobility of Filipinos due to the enforcement of the ECQ and partial operation of banks and other financial intermediaries, the use of digital channels and other electronic means such as ATM Go will bridge the gap towards access to government aide,” said Acevedo.