Baguio City first to launch BSP, DILG’S Paleng-QR PH Program

Officials from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, City Government of Baguio, and Department of Interior and Local Government gathered to celebrate the successful launch of Paleng-QR Ph in Baguio City. (From left) Baguio Market Vendors Association Vice President Welhelmina Duguis, Councilor Fred Bagbagen, Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Department of Tourism CAR Regional Director Jovita Ganongan, BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Monetary Board Member Peter Favila, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla, Baguio Congressman Marquez Go, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, DILG CAR Regional Director Araceli San Jose, Councilor Leandro Yangot, DILG Baguio Field Office City Director Millicent Cariño, Philippine Information Agency-CAR Regional Director Helen Tibaldo, and BSP North Luzon Regional Office Regional Director Atty. Noel Malimban

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) commends Baguio City on its launch of the Paleng-QR Ph program on 14 August 2022.

Baguio City is the first local government unit to implement the program, which was co-developed by the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in support of financial inclusion and digitalization.

Paleng-QR Ph aims to build the digital payments ecosystem in the country by promoting cashless payments in public markets and public transportation. The program underscores the significance of local market purchases and transportation fares as basic components of a Filipino’s day-to-day payment pattern.

In his speech, BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla lauded Baguio City’s efforts in promoting cashless payments. “Baguio has not taken one step, it already has taken many steps. The city’s strong digital transformation strategy makes it an even stronger champion for digital finance,” Governor Medalla added.

The BSP always stands ready to extend the needed support for the successful implementation of the program—be it in the form of technical assistance, resource sharing for financial literacy programs, and other Paleng-QR Ph post-launch activities.

The launch was held in Malcolm Square, located across the Baguio City Public Market, where financial service providers (FSPs) set up booths to assist market vendors and shop owners in opening transaction accounts and printing quick response (QR) codes for their stalls.

“We are truly excited to roll out the Paleng-QR Ph here in Baguio city and we look forward to everyone’s support for the successful implementation of this program- not just in Baguio but all throughout the Philippines,” Governor Medalla added, as he thanked Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong for supporting the program and advocating financial inclusion. Mayor Magalong is the secretary-general of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP).

(From left) BSP Governor Medalla, Monetary Board Member Favila, BSP Deputy Governor Puyat and Baguio City Mayor Magalong discuss the Paleng-QR Ph roll out in Baguio City

For his part, Mayor Magalong said that Paleng-QR Ph is aligned with the city’s digital transformation goals.

“Digital technology mainly gives us all a renewed sense of purpose. What we are doing now with this launching and what we are envisioning is a big idea that will bring about unprecedented change. We have entered the age of innovation, and we need to adapt to the fast-paced world of digital transformation,” according to Mayor Magalong.

DILG Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos expressed his support for the Paleng-QR Ph in Baguio City as this program can help improve the city’s collection systems, eliminate malpractices, speed up payment, and ensure integrity and transparency in transactions; and help protect public health amid the pandemic. “With the COVID-19 virus still present, the institutionalization of digitization initiatives should also be given a push to fully utilize advances in technology” Secretary Abalos said.

Prior to formally launching the program, the Baguio City Council had issued a resolution expressing the city’s support for the Paleng-QR Ph initiative, in line with the joint memorandum circular (JMC) issued by the BSP and DILG in June 2022. The JMC aims to institutionalize and promote the implementation of Paleng-QR Ph by local government units (LGUs) across the country.

The City Government of Baguio also plans to go beyond a resolution of support by passing an incentives program as well for the adoption of the Paleng-QR Ph program.

The City Council has passed on first reading a proposed ordinance that provides an incentive to all business owners who shall provide QR PH as an alternative mode of payment.

Under the ordinance, a five percent (5%) discount on all fees, licenses, permits and or taxes in connection with the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the market stall subject to the rules and regulations of the City Council in the first 3 years of the Paleng-QR Ph program.

The five percent (5%) discount also applies to stall rental or rights in the first year of adoption.