PH, SG sign agreement enhancing ASEAN digital payment cooperation in World Fintech Festival

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 30 November 2021

Upper row, L-R: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Benjamin Diokno; Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore; BSP Asst. Gov. Edna Villa Middle row, L-R: Mimi Ong, Anchor, ANC; BSP Director Raymond Estioko; PPMI GM Carmelita Araneta Bottom row: L-R: Leila Martin, OFBank President and CEO; Todd Schweitzer, Brankas CEO; Amor Maclang, Convenor, Digital Pilipinas

The Philippines and Singapore deepened their fintech-based relationship with cross-border collaborations that will strengthen ASEAN regional payments and provide financial inclusivity to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and micro-small-to-medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). 

During the recent World Fintech Festival Philippines (WFF) 2021 – Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Managing Director Ravi Menon signed the expanded Fintech Innovation Function Cooperation Agreement.  It highlighted the linkage of the two countries’ QR and real-time payment systems. In his statement following the signing ceremony, Gov. Diokno said that “the BSP is taking the initial step in linking the Philippine payment system with those of our ASEAN neighbors, beginning with Singapore.” Managing Director Menon called it “a concrete step towards the vision of an ASEAN network of interconnected real-time payment systems.”

MAS’ launch of tech platforms strengthens the growth of ASEAN cross-border transactions: Proxtera, which enables SMEs’ seamless trading;  the open-architecture API Exchange (APIX) supporting ASEAN and global financial innovation; and Oxygen, APIX’s knowledge-upskilling platform.

MAS Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty  said that the changemakers, policymakers, and financial gurus shaping SFF 2021’s discussions democratize their ” … valuable content into a signature knowledge certification programme and a special SME day with an upskilling programme.”

Amor Maclang, the co-founder of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications and Convenor of Digital Pilipinas, expressed support for the BSP-MAS Cooperation Agreement: “We will continue to be at the service of BSP and MAS.”

Micro-certification courses

Digital Pilipinas solves industry-wide challenges through digitalization, education, and the creation of tech sandboxes.  With the Department of Trade and Industry’s support, its Business Without Borders (BWB) program and Proxtera partnership connect MSMEs with the ASEAN network.  The Digital Pilipinas Academy will hold educational micro-certification courses on the blockchain, with its program, the Incremental Industry-Driven Technology Education Resources Authentication Testing Ecosystem (I-ITERATE) featuring courses on Open Finance, Fintech, and other nascent technologies.

The sandboxes that Digital Pilipinas will develop with national line agencies, and in partnership with Proxtera, APIX, and Oxygen, can accelerate regulation-compliant technological development.

Secure, swift digital payments

BWB, in linking MSMEs with international trade, aligns with the BSP-MAS’ Cooperation Agreement, which has been updated from the 2017 agreement.

BSP Director Raymond Estioko said that the 2021 agreement will make cross-border payments “cheaper, more inclusive, and more transparent.”

Brankas CEO Todd Schweitzer added that  it will connect “underserved Filipinos to the new payment systems [and] help drive financial inclusion.”

OFBank President and CEO Leila Martin acknowledged that OFWs can experience “cross-border payments that are safe and devoid of fraud.” 

As the BSP-MAS extended Cooperation Agreement and the Digital Pilipinas partnerships increase collaborations across the ASEAN, more Philippine sectors will move towards regional economic integration.