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The Philippines exceeds bond targets through digital initiative

The Philippine government has surpassed its targets for bond placements, thanks to a digital banking platform.  In a speech, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) announced that availments for the second tranche of Premyo bonds have reached PHP 6.56 billion (US$ 136.1 million). This amount has breached the department’s target this year and last year’s bond sale. 

National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon noted that the recent issuance exceeded initial targets that were set at PHP 3 billion (US$ 62.2 million). The placements also surpassed that sold in the same period last year, which was pegged at PHP 4.96 billion (US$ 102.8 million). 

A big portion of the sale, pegged at 84.3%, came from domestic investors. The remaining chunk of placements was made by overseas Filipino investors (OFs). De Leon emphasised that the OFs who participated are located in 70 countries. 

Three fourths or 70.6% of the overseas placements were channelled through a mobile app called Bonds.PH and digital lender Overseas Filipino Bank (OF Bank). Around 17.6% of investor accounts were registered through the Bonds.PH app and the OF Bank application.  

Placements through virtual channels 

De Leon welcomed the Treasury’s new digital initiative which she described has opened new avenues for those abroad who wish to participate in the agency’s bond placements. She added, “Indeed, our foray into innovative technologies that enabled convenient, safe, and secured conduct of financial investments has allowed more Filipinos here and abroad (to) participate in Premyo bonds”. 

The statements were made virtually during the last quarterly draw for the initial Premyo bonds. The event was recently aired over the Bureau of Treasury’s Facebook page.  

The Treasury’s Premyo bonds constitute the government’s foray in retail investment options which are specifically catered for new and small investors. To participate in the sale, an initial placement of PHP 500 (US$ 10.3) must be made, while the maximum investment amounts to PHP 10 million (US$ 207,189). 

The offer period for one-year debt securities with a yield of 1.25 % was from November to December. 

According to the Bureau’s website, interested investors may opt to participate through physical methods. They can inquire at bank branches participating in Premyo bond offerings, fill out required forms and pay fees through their bank accounts.  

For those who prefer digital means, they may invest through BTr’s online payment portal. The first few steps are essentially the same as traditional procedures of registration. They can log on to the Bureau’s website and register. No transaction fees shall be required. After registration and investment procedures, a system-generated e-mail shall be sent to the applicant with proof of investment. This document can be printed to serve as a receipt. 

The adoption by the BTr of a digital platform for its transaction is the latest addition to a string of innovative programmes streamlined by the government to boost seamless transactions and ultimately haul in more investments. 

Aside from pushing for banking on mobile apps and IT technology in major sectors of the economy, the Philippines has embarked on a virtual journey to boost its tax schemes. As earlier reported by OpenGov Asia, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) rolled out an Electronic Tax Clearance for Bidding Purposes and Tax Compliance Certificate or the eTCBP-TCVC. 

Under the new virtual scheme, interested bidders for government projects may settle tax transactions and payments without the need to go physically to government offices. Aside from ease in doing business, BIR Commissioner Cesar Dulay said that the online tax clearance programme is part of initiatives to launch “no contact” tax policies. This, he emphasised, could help lessen corruption in the BIR. 

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