FOR the government and private sector, undertaking financial-literacy programs for the country’s unbanked sector, made up of about 40 million Filipinos, is a daunting task. But an initiative by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Globe Telecom could provide the necessary push for the unbanked to get a handle on the need to save their money in a bank. To be more specific, BPI and Globe are doing this initiative through BanKO, a savings bank that makes use of a cellular phone.
BanKO has already partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in making the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) financially literate. Those who attend financial-literacy sessions are taught on the beauty of saving, on buying not based on want, but on need. For instance, one does not need to buy an expensive cell phone if he or she can make calls or send messages with a cheaper one.
The BPI-Globe financial-literacy
program, which commenced in March, lets the country’s first and only mobile-based savings bank reach out to 4Ps beneficiaries by using its own modules to teach basic savings values and budgeting habits.
After explaining the principle of “income minus savings equals expenses,” program participants are offered the opportunity to formally start saving by opening a bank account. BanKO only requires P100, one valid ID and a Globe or TM subscriber-identity module (SIM) card in opening an account.
So far, more than 50,000 beneficiaries have opened BanKO accounts after attending the sessions. Within four months, almost 3,000 sessions have been conducted in 10 regions, from areas such as Payatas in Quezon City to remote locations like mountain barangays in Cebu province’s Tuburan town and Palawan province’s Culion island. A total of 200,000 beneficiaries are expected to start saving through their BanKO accounts as a result of the program.
A total of P8.4 million has been deposited so far, but what is great about this is that the poor get to know that they have to first save some of their
earnings, and what is left is what they can budget for family expenses. Also, the fact that the cell phone has become a handy tool is the other notable feature of the financial-literacy program. Pretty soon, the beneficiaries would have enough to invest in other bank products.
Asean expert to speak at seminar
A PIECE in this business paper, titled “Understanding the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations],” has been well-received, not for the fact that the looming economic integration of the regional bloc remains a big challenge, but for the insight of Dr. Amitav Acharya, who is set to give a lecture at an Asean seminar at the New World Hotel on October 3.
Organized by First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA), Acharya’s lecture is part FPLA’s Executive Talks series, in which luminaries of various fields, including eminent physicist Michio Kaku, share their knowledge and insights. Acharya, who is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization chairman on transnational challenges and governance, as well as chairman of the American University’s Asean Studies Center, has talked about the emergence of a “multiplex” world, which is much like a cinema complex.
This is much different from a bipolar world, where, say, the United States and China are the key players.
For Acharya, the real world is where the “military and economic elements of power are not separable.”
For ticket information, you can call (632) 696-3051.
Instability in power supply
SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balicasan has again raised the specter of power-supply instability, which, to him, could negate the roaring growth in the export sector. The power-supply situation should be adequately addressed, said Balisacan, the first in President Aquino’s Cabinet to raise concern about the looming power crisis that is seen by some to start by December.
Merchandise exports grew by 12.4 percent to $5.5 billion in July, with higher revenues coming from manufactures and agro-based products, according to Balisacan. This made the Philippines register the second-highest exports growth in the region, after China’s 14.5-percent increase.
“Overall, global trade activity for the initial month of the third quarter projects better prospects for the coming months of the year, especially for our electronics, garments, intermediate-goods exports and agriculture-based products,” said Balisacan, who, nevertheless, stressed the importance of addressing the instability of the country’s power supply, which could disrupt industrial production and hurt exports, as well as the production volumes, should the cost of utilities go up.