August 6, 2020

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Digital Livelihood and Virtual Banking Services for Filipino Microenterprises

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More than 1.3 million sari-sari stores across the Philippines will get to experience digital livelihood and virtual banking services thanks to a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

According to a recent press release, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the universal bank, RCBC, signed the MOU.

DiskarTech App

  • Under the MOU, the Department will promote the bank’s virtual bank-tech app called DiskarTech: Kasosyo sa Asenso.
  • DiskarTech offers digital financial services such as micro-insurance, microfinancing, bills payment, and airtime and gaming e-load.
  • The app also enables customers to open basic deposit accounts at the bank, withdraw, deposit, and transfer money without going to a bank branch.
  • The partners are targeting enterprising Filipinos as users of the app, including sari-sari store and market vendors in over 42,000 barangays in the country.
  • A sari-sari store, more commonly known as the neighbourhood sundry store, is a convenience store in the Philippines that sells a variety of goods.
  • DTI Secretary explained that DiskarTech is a pioneering initiative that will level up the sari-sari stores and microenterprises with a complete suite of digital financial services.
  • These digital financial services are well-aligned with the 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Philippine Government.
  • Furthermore, on top of providing additional income, DiskarTech also helps achieve financial inclusion by getting more Filipinos to open bank accounts and be part of the formal financial system.
  • Financial inclusion is key to achieving the Philippine President’s vision of inclusive growth and a comfortable life for all.
  • This will also address informal lenders offering exorbitant interest rates as DiskarTech provides opportunity for new-to-credit Filipinos.
  • Through this, they will be able to access efficient and affordable credit facility via self-help approach.
  • Earlier, the Liga ng mga Barangay National Executive Board approved a resolution adopting DiskarTech as a national financial inclusion accelerator in all 42,000 barangays nationwide.

Training Programs at Negosyo Centers

  • Also under the MOU, DTI will provide training programs for entrepreneurs. The said trainings will roll out before the end of this year in more than 1,000 DTI Negosyo Centers around the country.
  • The Negosyo Center is responsible for promoting ease of doing business and facilitating access to services for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • The centres are found in strategic areas convenient for the existing and would-be entrepreneurs, such as DTI offices, Local Government Units (LGU), academe, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), and malls.
  • The centres help stimulate entrepreneurship development as MSMEs contribute substantially in driving the Philippine economy.
  • It started in 2014, with 5 Centres established in the islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
  • Since then, more Centres have been set up nationwide bringing ease of doing business closer to MSMEs in all regions.
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