To truly achieve digital transformation, why not digitize the way the government institutions and authorities make payments to the citizens?
This question was posed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers to the government, as he proposed the establishment of a public payment system, in which all payments made by its institutions and authorities will be deposited directly into a citizen’s bank account to be called as “One Account.”
“This payment system will reduce the number of physical cash transactions,thereby bringing faster and more efficient service to the public. Distribution of government subsidies and ameliorations will be much easier, This will likewise reduce bureaucracy that could minimize corruption,” he said.
Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, filed House Bill No. 7714 or the proposed “Philippine Public Payment Act,” recognizing the need of ease of doing business and efficient delivery of goods and services to the general public.
He explained that under his proposed Philippine Public Payment System, all payments made by the government authorities and institutions, such as but no limited to tax refunds, pensions, government subsidies, social ameliorations, will be directly deposited into citizen’s bank account.
“Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), for instance, recently allowed government institutions to collect payments and remittances through electronic financial services. However, collections are currently the only transaction that is digitized,” the House leader said.
HB 7714 provides that all citizens of the Philippines who are 18-years-old and above and have a PhilSys Number (PSN) shall have a government bank account called One Account, which shall be covered by the Bank Secrecy Law.
Barbers said once a citizen has been issued a PhilSys Number, a One Account shall be automatically created for him or her by the government, and only one One Account shall be created for each person.
“If one has an existing bank account in a government bank, he can designate the same as his One Account,” he said.
Under HB 7714, opening an account and maintaining it in government bank for such purpose is free of charge, subject to existing bank rules and regulations. “All other fees and charges are likewise waived,” it provides.
The measure tasks the BSP to be the key implementing arm of the proposed Act. It is expected to collaborate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for technical assistance.
Upon conviction, the violators of the proposed Act shall suffer a penalty of imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine not more than P1 million or both, in discretion of the court, it provides.
The amount necessary to implement the provisions of the proposed Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Within 60 days from the effectivity of the proposed Act, the BSP, and DICT shall promulgate its implementing rules and regulations.