By Argyll Cyrus Geducos, May 16, 2022; Manila Bulletin

To promote the efficient delivery of services, especially amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Malacañang has ordered all government offices to adopt digital payments for their respective disbursements and collection.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed President Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 170 on May 12, 2022, directing the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements to facilitate the expedient distribution of financial assistance to beneficiaries.

Based on the EO, the said move will provide a catalyst for financial inclusion for the most vulnerable sectors of society, contributing to attaining the country’s long-term vision under Ambisyon Natin 2040 and supporting the country’s development trajectory toward an inclusive, resilient, and future-ready economy.

Duterte’s order covers all government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, including state universities and colleges (SUCs), government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and local government units (LGUs).

Covered agencies must utilize safe and efficient digital disbursements to pay goods, services, and other disbursements. These include the distribution of financial assistance and the payment of salaries, wages, allowances, and other compensation to employees.

They can now disburse funds directly into the transaction accounts of recipients or beneficiaries, whether held in government or private financial institutions supervised by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), without a special agreement from the financial institution concerned.

To ensure continuity of the delivery of payment services, all covered agencies must adopt a Business Continuity Plan to prepare for calamities and other emergencies where digital payments may not be possible.

Meanwhile, all covered agencies shall offer a digital mode of collecting payments for taxes, fees, tolls, and other charges and impositions. They must have secure payment processing solutions to accept various digital payment methods.

Technical working group

The EO creates a technical working group (TWG) that will provide guidance and promote cost-efficiency and transparency in the procurement of digital payment solutions.

The members of the TWG are representatives from the following agencies and offices:

  • Department of Finance (DOF)
  • Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
  • Bureau of Treasury (BTr)
  • Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
  • Government Procurement Policy Board (GPBB Technical Support Office

The TWG is tasked to oversee and monitor the procurement of digital payment solutions by covered agencies and consider the formulation of standard terms and conditions for payment service providers.

They shall likewise resolve issues relative to the implementation of the new EO.

The DOF, in coordination with the Commission on Audit (COA), BSP, DBM, BTr, BIR, and other government agencies, must issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations (IRR) within 90 days.