March 1, 2021 — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has established a new unit to manage the interplay between physical cash and digital money.
Called the “Payments and Currency Management Sector (PCMS)”, the new sector consolidates the BSP’s existing currency and management units and will be responsible for producing banknotes, coins, refining gold, and the printing of the National ID cards. Furthermore, the new department will be in charge of the central bank’s anti-counterfeiting operations, currency forecasting, currency retirement, and the servicing of bank deposits and withdrawals in the greater Manila area.
Finally, the PCMS will handle the following tasks:
- Licensing and supervision of payment system operators
- Formulation of strategies and policies for currency and payment systems
- Formulation of strategies and policies for digital payments transformation and currency forecasting
- Operating the Philippine Payment and Settlement System
- Administration of the digital Personal Equity and Retirement Account
“PCMS is tasked to maintain the safety and integrity of the local currency and to ensure a well-functioning payments and cash ecosystem that supports sustained and inclusive economic growth,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.
In a virtual conference, Gov. Diokno said the establishment of the new unit is in line with the central bank’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap for 2020 to 2023, whose main goal is to achieve an inclusive payment ecosystem, the Manila Times reported.
The new sector will be led by Mamerto E. Tangonan as its deputy governor. Tangonan has over 28 years of experience in digital and traditional financial services and telecommunications. He was the lead on the E-PESO project which was funded by the USAID to accelerate the country’s transition to digital payments. He also managed the development of GCash mobile banking service for rural banks. As the previous Vice President of ING Life Insurance, he handled alternative distribution channels through e-payments.
“[Mr. Tangonan] leads PCMS in maintaining the safety and integrity of the Philippine currency, as well as ensuring a well-functioning payments and cash ecosystem that fosters long-term economic growth.” –BSP Media Release
In an Economic Forum last year, Tangonan emphasized the need to bridge customers still using cash by expanding payment infrastructures and non-metro access points. “We need to bridge those customers who are still using cash… and one way of doing that is giving them access points even in non-Metro areas where they can exchange or deposit their cash into their accounts,” he said, after noting that one-third of digital buyers during the lockdown are first-time users. “More than half of them are in non-Metro areas. 95% of them plan to continue using it even beyond the pandemic,” Tangonan added.
This article is first published on BitPinas: BSP Sets Up New Physical, Digital Payments Unit, Names New Deputy Governor