The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) thanks the young Filipinos who came up with the idea for “Paleng-QR Ph”.
Recently launched in Baguio City, Paleng-QR Ph promotes the digitalization of transactions by market vendors, shopkeepers, and tricycle drivers across the country through QR Ph, the Philippine standard for using quick response (QR) technology for e-payments.
The BSP noted that the initiative stemmed from its “Youth Summit 2021”, which included a policy competition for advancing the central bank’s digitalization and financial inclusion efforts.
The BSP adopted the concept for Paleng-QR Ph after listening to the presentation of a team from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) composed of Martin Rafael Torres, Reymar Angelo Cabatu, Harper de Leon, Oliver Caile Montesar, and Paolo Nicomedes. Their adviser was Joram Obsioma.
“Our team conceived of a mobile application called e-Palengke to enable selling and buying of goods online,” recalled Torres. The concept was aimed at helping Filipinos face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, while promoting financial digitalization.
“By helping palengkes go digital, we not only help market vendors protect themselves against COVID-19, but also to cope with the fast-changing financial environment—‘yung hindi sila mapag-iiwanan ng mga malls and techie businesses,” Obsioma explained.
The UPLB students spent about three months developing the concept paper for the e-Palengke mobile app. In their third month of research, they encountered QR Ph, and this served as a “eureka” or “I found it!” moment for the group, according to Nicomedes.
The team’s policy paper, “Paleng-QR PH: Breaking the Barriers to Digital Payment Systems Starting from Local Markets,” eventually landed in the list of Youth Summit finalists.
With QR Ph, consumers and merchants will enjoy faster and more convenient transactions as the technology minimizes errors associated with the manual encoding of account details.
Since exact amounts can be paid, it also does away with the need for retailers to stock up on change. Moreover, the technology is affordable, and merchants do not need expensive point of sale or data capture terminals to process payments.
The BSP considers the youth as strategic partners in promoting digitalization and financial inclusion throughout the country.