Mandaue City vendors ‘concerned’ over earnings if they go cashless

ONLY 200 out of 700 active vendors doing business at the Mandaue City Public Market (MCPM) know how to use digital wallet applications.

Cesar Mercadal, MCPM acting chief and market supervisor, made the disclosure during a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, organized by the Mandaue City Government and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to promote digitization among vendors and tricycle vendors operating at the city’s public market.

The hearing was made following a proposed ordinance, authored by City Councilor Oscar Del Castillo Jr., that enjoins all business establishments and local transporters in Mandaue City to adopt QR PH digital payments in line with the national government’s Paleng-QR Plus Program.

The proposed ordinance was approved on first reading last Jan. 20.

But Mercadal added that they are still in the process of surveying as to how many vendors at MCPM are now using digital wallet apps such as GCash, Maya, among others, in their operations.

Concerns, solutions

Vendors and tricycle drivers who attended the public hearing also raised some concerns on the use of digital wallets in their work, one of which is their fear of falling victim to online scams.

One vendor noted the difficulty of doing cash-in transactions, or depositing money into the e-wallet account, with fewer cash-in outlets in the area and the expensive cash-in charge of three percent per transaction.

Another concern among the vendors was the technical processes of using digital wallet apps, stressing that some of them are not tech-savvy.

Dr. Gregorio Bacay III, the head of BSP Central Visayas’ Economic Affairs Staff, suggested adding cash-in and cash-out outlets inside the market.

Bacay particularly wants the MCPM’s vendor association to serve as the cash-in and cash-out outlets to at least lessen the transaction charge to one percent.

Bacay also vowed that the BSP will conduct more information, education and communication campaigns to lecture vendors and give them a walk-through in using digital wallet apps.

He also suggested installing a technical working group inside the market that the vendors can ask for help in case they experience problems in using the technology.

The BSP will also include awareness campaign for the public against online scams and implement security measures as mandated by BSP Memorandum M-2022-015, according to Bacay.

Del Castillo, who was present during the hearing, said he plans to incorporate all the suggestions in the revision of the proposed ordinance before presenting it for second reading on Monday, Feb. 27.

Bacay explained the BSP’s goal in implementing its Paleng-QR PH Plus program is to achieve at least 50 percent of the volume in the country’s retail transactions to be done online. It also wants 70 percent of adult Filipinos to have digital wallets by the end of 2023.

Bacay also stated the advantages of doing cash-light transactions. These include having lesser expense in money production and increasing the dividends to be distributed for government projects, sparing vendors and small-time business owners from the proliferation of fake money and possible diseases from contaminated money.

Paleng-QR PH Plus is a program by BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government promoting cashless payments as an alternative to paying cash in purchasing goods at public markets and in paying fares for public utility vehicles.

Paleng-QR PH Plus had its official launch in Lapu-Lapu City last Friday, Feb. 17.