MANILA, Philippines – Even with the ongoing public health crisis, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it is looking to roll out this year two digital-based programs that are aimed at “improving tax compliance” and “expanding financial inclusion,” especially among Filipino migrant workers.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said one of these initiatives – the Electronic Receipt and Invoicing and Electronic Sales Reporting System (E-invoicing) – will possibly be launched by the third quarter of the year to provide better and faster services to taxpayers.
“The biggest (digitalization) program we’re working on now is e-invoicing. Once we get that e-invoicing program set up, that will mean a big step in e-governance already,” Dominguez said during a recent online hearing of the economic stimulus cluster of the Defeat COVID-19 Committee of the House of Representatives.
“We have been working on that for the last year or so, and we should come to a conclusion, a good program by the middle of, or maybe the 3rd quarter of this year,” he added.
His statement was in response to a recommendation by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte during the online hearing for the government to strengthen and expand its digital-based programs for frontline services.
The e-invoicing program is part of the efforts of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to digitalize its tax administration and collection system.
Dominguez said the system will complement the administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to make the tax system simpler, fairer and more efficient.
It will also translate into more convenient, reliable and transparent services for taxpayers, and set the stage for world-class tax administration in the country.
Its pilot stage was funded by the grant extended by the Republic of Korea through the
Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Dominguez also revealed during the online hearing that the Land Bank of the Philippines has made good on its commitment to the DOF to have the country’s first ever digital-only, branchless bank up and running by the end of June this year.
The Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank, which will primarily benefit the country’s migrant workers, will utilize digital technology and smartphone apps to provide banking and other financial services, the DOF chief said.
“We set up this OF Bank a couple of years ago. We’ve had problems with the technology but I think with Cecile’s leadership, we are almost ready to launch,” Dominguez said, referring to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo.
Borromeo earlier reported to Dominguez that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas already granted last January 30 a “No Objection” Clearance to the OFBank on its use and implementation of a Digital Onboarding System (DOBS) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) facilitating an electronic Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process.
In September 2017, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 44 authorizing LANDBANK to acquire the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postbank) so it could be converted into the OFBank. The OFBank is classified as a savings bank of LANDBANK.
Borromeo said that overseas Filipinos with Postbank accounts who migrated to OFBank were issued EMV-enabled VISA Debit Cards they could use for automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals, fund transfers, bills payments and online purchases, among others.
“Through the OFBank, overseas Filipinos would be able to invest in their own country that they have helped transform into one of the fastest-growing economies in the region,” Dominguez said.
A joint initiative of the DOF and the LANDBANK, the OFBank is the fulfillment of a 2016 presidential campaign promise of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to put up their own bank when he becomes President.
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