THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has allotted more than P153 million for the hiring of over 1,000 service contract workers (SCWs) who are now being deployed to various locations across the country to assist in the opening of transaction accounts for unbanked national ID registrants.

LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo said facilitating the opening of bank accounts for registrants to the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) will help ensure the speedy and efficient delivery of future government assistance programs to unbanked national ID holders.

Under this setup, the SCWs, who will augment LANDBANK’s existing manpower, will co-locate with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in national ID registration centers not serviced by the bank’s Agent Banking Partners (ABPs), Borromeo said.

The PSA is the lead agency in the nationwide registration of PhilSys applicants.

In a previous statement, the PSA said that of the 10.5 million initial registrants to the PhilSys, more than 82 percent indicated that they do not have bank accounts.

Borromeo said in her report to Finance Secretary and LANDBANK chairman Carlos Dominguez III that the SCWs will act as frontliners by attending to various queries and requests relating to the opening of accounts and gathering and verifying client information.

She said the SCWs will also help to ensure the strict observance of social distancing and health protocols during the registration process and opening of accounts.

“Our participation in the PhilSys registration is in line with the Duterte administration’s financial inclusion agenda of bringing unbanked Filipinos to the financial mainstream, and is in response to Secretary Dominguez’s directive for us to accelerate our shift to digital-based transactions to prepare us for the new economy,” Borromeo said in her report to Dominguez.

LANDBANK will be offering its Mastercard Prepaid Card to unbanked PhilSys registrants free-of-charge, so that they can later use them to cash-in, cash-out and transfer funds at any LANDBANK Branch or its ABPs.

She said LANDBANK’s ABPs, which include cooperatives, associations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and private entities, will set up LANDBANK account opening booths to facilitate account application and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) activities at designated co-location areas.

“As of December 23, 2020, LANDBANK has also on-boarded 136 local government units (LGUs) to assist in the data gathering for future account opening and provision of transaction accounts for unbanked constituents who will be participating in the registration,” Borromeo said in her report submitted through the Corporate Affairs Group (CAG) of the Department of Finance (DOF).

LANDBANK’s Mastercard Prepaid Card can likewise be used by Philsys ID holders to withdraw cash at ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) cash-out terminals, shop online and perform cashless transactions, as well as receive any government subsidy digitally, Borromeo said.

The card is also contactless enabled, which means it can be used for “tap” payments, such as for the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) that the government plans to roll out for public utility vehicles (PUVs) within the first half of 2021.

In 2020, the PSA reported completing the initial registration of 10.5 million heads of low-income households in 32 provinces to the PhilSys.

The second step will involve the validation of supporting documents and capture of biometric information, such as fingerprints, iris scans and front-facing photographs of the registrants at PSA designated centers, in preparation for the issuance of the respective PhilSys numbers and physical IDs of registrants.

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