Beng, USAID launch E-Peso system in ZC PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 August 2015 12:39

by SheIla Covarrubias

To jumpstart the implementation of cashless transactions in the local government, Mayor Beng Climaco and USAID officials Thursday afternoon formally launched the E-PESO ecosystem in Zamboanga City with strong support from the private sector and other groups.

Mayor Climaco thanked the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) for considering Zamboanga as a very vital city by helping and rolling out millions of dollars for projects that will usher growth and development.

“The lesson we want to learn is how to capacitate Zamboanga City so we can have opportunities for growth and development through the utilization and embracing new challenges through the use of electronic payments,” the mayor said in her welcome message citing the benefits that the city can attain out of the partnership.

The mayor expressed deep gratitude to the USAID for what she termed as a fruitful beginning stressing that with USAID’s guidance and support, Zamboanga City will grow not only from rank 74 to 15 in the cities competitiveness ranking but will make a dent, make a ripple and make a way not only within the city but within Basilan, Sulu and the Peninsula.

Roger Carlson, USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director emphasized that the launching activity was a very  important step in a series of initiatives underway to implement the partnership for growth established a few years back between the Philippines and the United States.

The E-PESO program, he said is designed to support the Philippine commitment “to achieve a 20-fold increase in electronic payment usage and the development of an economic infrastructure that will enable Filipinos to access new financial products.” “It will provide wide range of financial services that can help Filipino build assets and participate in the formal economy which is a key to achieving inclusive growth and in the long run hoping to eliminate extreme poverty.”

The initiative, according to the USAID official will make the payment of taxes, permits and other transactions easier and more accessible to all. “E-payments can be made right at the convenience of your home or office, saving  you time from physically queuing or travelling just to settle obligations,”  the USAID official pointed out.

Highlight of the program was a presentation of the E-Peso activity by USAID-E-PESO Chief of Party, the formal handover of the Executive Order 129-2015 creating the LGU E-Peso counterpart team by Mayor Climaco to Carlson and the signing of the Wall of Support.

For his part, Edwin To of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation thanked Mayor Climaco for leading the way in the implementation of cashless transactions in the city stressing that “this is a manifestation of your dynamic leadership.”

To likewise cited the benefits of the E-Peso program to include paperless transactions, improvement in tax collection efficiency and increasing productivity among others.

Also present during the launching program held at the City Hall conference room were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, some members of the City Council, department heads, USAID Project Management Specialist Tess Espenilla, Paul Mason of the USAID, USAID-E-PESO team members,  LGU-E-PESO team, the private sector, academe, utilities and other guests. Sheila Covarrubias