Cashless, checkless system for gov’t purchases launched
Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday launched the Cashless Purchase Card (CPC) program and the Open Data Philippines at the Good Governance Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in a move, he said, for greater transparency and accountability in the government.
The CPC program, launched on the first day of the Summit held at the PICC, would enable the government to initiate cashless transactions in its bid to eliminate corruption in the bureaucracy. The program is a joint effort between the Aquino administration and Citibank, with the government’s financial transactions to be done entirely through electronic means instead of cash or checks.
“The presence of large sums of cash in offices can pose a temptation to even the most honest employee – not to mention those who would willingly take advantage of such a situation,” Aquino said.
“Cashless purchase cards will be issued to agencies, for low-value payments of a restricted number and type of goods and services. They will resemble ordinary credit cards, but will have additional restrictions more suited to the needs of government. Through the Cashless Purchase Cards and other similar reforms, government financial transactions should be 100 percent checkless and 80 percent cashless before the end of this year,” Aquino said.
The first phase of the CPC program will be carried out in the first quarter of 2014, initially in the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of National Defense (DND), and the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as pilot agencies for implementation.
The CPC program will cover purchases of medical supplies, meals, the transportation of official documents, airline tickets, and construction supplies for minor repairs.
“If all goes well, the program will be rolled out and cashless purchases cards will be distributed in other national government agencies next year,” Aquino said.
The Open Data Philippines (www.data.gov.ph) will be the single and comprehensive portal for government data, with more than 400 data sets spanning all departments and agencies made accessible to the public.
“Among those already included in the website are applications that can help Metro Manila residents plan their daily commutes. Other applications seek to make government expenditures more accessible. Ultimately, opening data is more than just making columns and rows of figures available for viewing; it is about empowering the people through information,” Aquino said.
“Open Data is a step towards having all information at our fingertips – which we can use to better assess, improve, and even develop programs and policies,” he added.
The President said the Cashless Purchase Card Program and the Open Data Philippines are only two of a long list of reforms in the administration’s thrust towards good governance.
“We are upgrading in the truest sense of the word – exploring every possible avenue to improve the way we serve our countrymen,” Aquino said.