April 23, 2024

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong backed the adoption of a cashless payment system in the city to curb the spread of the Covid-19.
“The reason why we are very aggressive in pursuing digitalized financial transactions is because we found out that money became a vehicle for transmission of the disease. This is the reason why we have several cases wherein cashiers, taxi drivers, billing clerks were infected,” Magalong said.
In rolling out the program, the mayor rallied residents to embrace the contactless transaction system as a way of coping up with the lurking threat of the Covid-19.
The system was made possible through the combined efforts of the city and SquidPay Technology Inc. (SPTI), a payment solutions company headed by Enrico Tamayo, its chief operating officer and president.
The city and SPTI signed a memorandum of agreement, July 13. The deal is free of charge and does not impose fees for its transactions.
Convincing residents to subscribe by virtual business transactions, the mayor said, “Whether or not there will be a vaccine for the virus, we have to accept the new normal. Let’s think strategic, let’s think long-term.”
The system is part of the “Smart City” and the “Baguio in my pocket” digital transformation project, which doubles as a contact tracing tool.
Under the MOA, SPTI will provide the city government and app subscribers access to payment collections services.
The city is given zero-percent transaction fees and zero upfront costs for the installation and implementation of the system.
The city government for its part will encourage cashless transactions through the SPTI’s system.
The system facilitates online and offline payments for fare in public conveyances, bills, e-commerce transactions, merchants’ payment services and e-loading through tap cards, near-field communication or QR codes.
The program will first cover payment of fares.
SPTI Executive Officer Elmar Panganiban said engagements have begun with the transport sector since June 24 to familiarize operators and drivers with the system.
For those who will use tap cards for fare payments, the company plans to set up business centers or booths in strategic places in the city. A booth had been put up at City Hall, July 7. – Aileen P. Refuerzo