Philippine Central Bank Governor Details Financial Digitalization Pathway to Inclusive Recovery

ADBI News Release | 23 April 2021

Manila, The Philippines – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno discussed emerging financial digitalization opportunities and the Philippine central bank’s plans for leveraging them to deliver a robust and inclusive COVID-19 recovery during an ADBI Featured Speaker Webinar.

Sharing insights with ADBI Dean Tetsushi Sonobe and a panel of experts, Governor Diokno described BSP’s pursuit of digital financial services breakthroughs and the implications for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise growth, jobs, and social protection.

Governor Diokno also explained BSP’s efforts to boost digital infrastructure, risk mitigation, and digital financial literacy and skills, underscoring their importance for advancing financial inclusion that could support a stronger, more technically advanced, and more inclusive post-pandemic economy.

Key Quotes:

Benjamin E. Dionko, Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

“I [am] committed to [move] the Philippine economy and the Philippine society from a cash heavy society to a cash light society.”

“The COVID pandemic was a catalyst for further digitalization. It enhanced the use of digitalization because there's a restriction on face-to-face contact…We have our own retail credit payment system. If you compare the March 2021 number with the March 2020 number, that was the first time that we [imposed] lockdowns in the Philippines, there has been a quadrupling of the use of the digital platform in the Philippines. So, it helped us post our digitalization effort.”

“This [new QR code system for payments in the Philippines] will help the small vendors, market vendors, bicycle drivers, and shipping drivers, the variety store owners, etc, the unbanked vendors and sectors. It will also help those who are unbanked, basically consumers who don't have bank accounts and do not see any need to have a formal bank account. So, with this program, it will empower small economic agents to take part in the digital payments ecosystem.”

“The BSP’s efforts to promote financial digitalization go hand-in-hand with policies that require enhanced cybersecurity, risk management, and consumer protection among BSP supervised financial institutions. The BSP recognizes that the success of efforts toward financial digitalization lies, in part, on their ability to gain the trust of financial consumers, which in turn is made possible by a safe cyber environment.”

Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean, ADBI

“IT infrastructure development will help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises which account for the vast majority of Philippine businesses because customers and clients use these technologies and that will make it easier for them to go further with e-commerce.”

“Digitization will really help achieve an inclusive society only if digital infrastructure and other infrastructure are developed more.”