Transacting with government agencies in the Philippines may soon be much easier once the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) pushes through plans to introduce a system that will provide an online payment platform across various government agencies.
Dubbed as PhPay and to be launched by the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) project of the DOST, the online system is seen to lessen the long lines among government agencies and alleviate the hassles associated with applying for and obtaining documents such as NBI clearance, DTI business permit and LTO vehicle registration.
“What it offers is convenience to citizens and government agencies,” Jops Josef, iGovPhil team leader for systems integration, said. With PhPay, users no longer need to personally queue at a certain government office since they can pay at their time and place of convenience via a menu of electronic payment service providers (PSP).
Through the online system, citizens who are availing of services from a government agency may pay through various payment channels which would include credit cards, online banking, bank and non-bank over-the-counter payments, mobile banking, and rural banks, among others. According to Josef, they are set to seal agreements with PSPs such as Asia Pay, DragonPay, PVB Card and Rural Net to facilitate the payments.
PhPay also offers more than just convenience to users. “It also lessens the opportunity for graft and corruption as it eliminates face-to-face contact and promote transparency on payments made to the government,” Josef said.
A so-called convenience fee of P20 to P40 will be collected from users per transaction. The Bureau of Treasury will play a crucial role in the implementation of PhPay because it will function as the single-government merchant in the whole electronic payment process. Every payment made for government transactions will be forwarded to the Bureau of Treasury.
The pilot testing of the PhPay will start before the year ends and the Cooperative Development Authority will be the first government agency to test the system. PhPay is expected to go live and ready to use by February next year.
For the first part of the project, Josef said that they are targeting major government agencies such as the Bureau of Customs, Department of Trade and Industry, National Statistics Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission to adapt the system. The second phase, which is scheduled for the second half of the year targets local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations.