For Immediate Release
The U.S. Government and the Local Government of Quezon City today launched an innovative mobile money system for the disbursement of social transfers and the assessment and collection of real property tax.
The “Go Live” Launch, which is made possible through the Local Government’s collaboration with the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), highlights the mobile money real property tax assessment and collection, disbursement of stipends to 10,000 government scholarship recipients, and allowances for 12,000 public school teachers.
Greg Beck, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia, who is visiting the country this week said, “I see bright prospects for the Philippines in achieving its targets in good governance and sustained inclusive growth, today’s launch is an excellent example of how local governments, like Quezon City, are committing to this goal with the help of innovative technology that promotes transparency and accountability in government service.”
USAID’s Scaling Innovation through Mobile Money (SIMM) Project is aligned with the Philippine Government’s thrust of promoting financial inclusion by expanding citizen’s access to formal banking and financial services and improving accountability and security in government transactions through digitization of payment and collection systems.
"This USAID project has supported our goal to automate existing payment and collections systems for a faster, more secure, and more accountable management and tracking of government financial transactions. The system will now enable our real property taxpayers, our scholars and our teachers to transact with the city government simply by using their mobile phones. They no longer need to come to City Hall and queue,” explained Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.
Last year, the local government processed over 316,000 real property tax payments out of a total of 570,000 tax base with individual payments of up to more than PhP1 million (US$22,829). Educational stipends for college student scholars are released every semester at a range of PhP1,500 to PhP10,000 (US$34 to US$229), and allowance of PhP2,000 (US$43) for teachers are paid monthly.
This mobile-based fees assessment and collection solution aims to streamline processes and reduce delinquent tax payments; in addition to eliminating challenges in its existing manual system, including high cost of cash handling, safety concerns, and inefficient back end operations. Disbursements sometimes take months to complete and hiring of temporary personnel has to be resorted to in order to accommodate real property tax payments during peak periods. This mobile solution will assist Quezon City improve customer service for its constituents.
USAID facilitated the Local Government’s partnership with BPI Globe BanKO to provide the mobile money platform for the social transfers, and G-Xchange Inc. (GXI) for the real property tax assessment and collection.
Teresita Tan, President and CEO for BPI Globe BanKO, said, “As a mobile-based bank that primarily focuses on giving easy and immediate access to formal financial services to more Filipinos, BanKO shares the Quezon City Local Government’s vision to increase financial inclusion by promoting the use of mobile money to its scholars and teachers. With their BanKO accounts, they are not only able to keep track of their disbursements, but they have the opportunity to perform various financial transactions using their mobile phones as well.”
“We are glad to further extend the convenience and security of GCash mobile payment service to Quezon City residents by allowing them to pay real property tax using their mobile phones. With the support of the local government, we hope to enable more people access to innovative, secure financial services,” said GXI President Paolo Baltao.##
Last updated: March 31, 2014