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Friday, January 27, 2023

SMART CITIES: The next wave of digital innovation

DAVAO CITY – Local government units across the country are now sealing partnerships in their journey of joining the wave of “smart cities.”

Five mayors in Northern Mindanao recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department Of Science and Technology (DOST) that seals a partnership in building smart and sustainable cities and communities in the region. The signing was held in Cagayan de Oro City during the recently concluded “National Science and Technology Week sa Amihang Mindanao on October 25.”

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will pave the way for a vibrant partnership of DOST-10 with the LGUs and other stakeholders in outlining projects that will address the challenges of the urban and regional life of communities through harnessing science, technology, and innovation.

The partner LGUs, in partnership with their Provincial S&T Offices, are given the opportunity to conceptualize and propose their own projects under this program, based on the need, opportunities, and visions of their communities.

With the implementation of the DOST Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities Framework in Northern Mindanao, the vision to transform communities into smart and sustainable cities is now commencing.

Ushering smart, resilient, and sustainable communities is among the strategies articulated by DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum. A smart city project has been successfully implemented in Cauayan City in Isabela under the leadership of Usec Sancho Mabborang, the DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations.

PALENG-QR Ph

As this developed, in November this year, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officially launched the “PALENG-QR Ph” program.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) head of Regional Economic Affairs Greg Baccay said, PALENG-QR Ph is a collaborative framework to promote digital transaction through cashless payments for public markets, community shopkeepers and local transport such as tricycles across the country with LGUs as the major player in collaboration with Financial Service Providers (FSP) such as Gcash.

“We define financial inclusion as a situation with access to a wide range of financial products such as savings, credit and remittances and even investments.

Not only safely save money but conveniently send, receive, collect payment, pay taxes, purchase and even payment of skills,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) head of Regional Economic Affairs Greg Baccay said.

Paleng-QR Ph aims to achieve universal account ownership, optimize e-governance collection. Sustains government development agenda

More than the mobility restrictions and physical distancing norm that has paved the way on the modes of payment during the massive lockdowns, Baccay goes further by saying, “The future of digital service in the country is very strategic for us as a people.”

“This is a “Whole of the Nation” undertaking. A united Philippines encouraging LGUs to implement the DILG program PALENG-QR Ph by virtue of a Joint memorandum circular between DILG and Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas to create policies that incentivize in the use of PALENG-QR Ph through information dissemination.” Baccay said.

It is important that there be an issuance of local ordinance mandating or incentivizing acceptance of QR payments in public markets, transport and other merchants. “Not a resolution baka pag palit ng leadership iba na naman and kanyang direction,” stressed Baccay.

PALENG-QR Ph is not a competition but a collaborative framework to promote digital transaction through cashless payments for public markets, community shopkeepers and local transport such as tricycles across the country with LGUs as the major player in collaboration with Financial Service Providers (FSP) such as Gcash.

INCENTIVIZE OR PENALIZE

Baccay added that there should be a policy that is required to support PALENG-QR Ph either a mandate with a penal clause that you will be penalized under the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd offense or incentivize through tax discounts. On the other hand, policies that incentivize in the use of Palengke-QR Ph Code Digital Payments through information dissemenation of digital information is also encouraged.
BSP on the other hand will assist on board vendors to transaction, account or coordination with FSPs that are already QR-PH ready.

FINANCIAL LITERACY

“Sir nag transact ako sa isang app at nawalan,” illustrates Baccay as one consumer hesitation due to proliferation of text scams, stressing the need for a consumer assistance mechanism.

Baccays stresses the need to instituted resolutions to promote Paleng-QR Ph by launching a series of financial literacy campaign in order to minimize resistance and to assure that it is a safe ecosystem under digital payments.

(First of a series; By Giovanni Flaviano/GAF)

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