With the fintech boom, government agencies have warned: do more due diligence, avoid dodgy contractors

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As President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. directed enforcement agencies to bring essential government services closer to Filipinos through digital transformation initiatives, government agencies were warned to only deal with entities credible companies that provide solid, secure solutions and an impeccable track record.

Former PBA Partylist representative Jericho Nograles called on operational departments and their sub-agencies to redouble their efforts to conduct due diligence on potential contractors and partners to ensure Filipinos do not lose out. , especially as the government continues to strengthen digital transformation efforts.

Fully supporting President Marcos’ goal of transforming the Philippines into a more digital nation, Nograles said a whole-of-government approach must be taken to ensure digital services are not only safe and secure, but also convenient and affordable. for many Pinoys.

“Accelerated digital transformation requires the government to be more careful and thorough in performing due diligence on potential partners. The government must ensure that the contractors and partners it hires are credible and have an impeccable track record that proves their ability to bring essential and critical government services closer to Filipinos,” Nograles said.

Nograles noted that he is particularly wary of agencies that outsource digital transaction services to fintech players and digital banks, as they have monetary repercussions and involve personal data.

“Government needs to adapt to the demands of the new normal, but it also needs to be careful in choosing its fintech partners. While there are many credible players in the Philippines, there are also those who have proven to overcharge consumers for personal gain,” Nograles said.

During his stint as a lawmaker in the last Congress, Nograles dealt with fintech companies and online agencies that circumvented required procurement processes and charged Filipino consumers high prices.

In November 2021, Nograles led the congressional investigation into the irregular contract between the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and PisoPay, a fintech startup that focuses on remittances and money transfer transactions.

As a reminder, BOQ engaged PisoPay to help the agency issue an International Vaccination Certificate (ICV), or what is commonly known as the “yellow card,” which was a requirement for outbound Filipino workers overseas. (OFW).

Filipinos applying for yellow cards have to pay P370 for a copy, of which P70 goes to PisoPay, a service fee deemed irregular as other government agencies only charge P30.

During the series of congressional investigations, Nograles and other lawmakers revealed that PisoPay had not undergone the required bidding process and that PisoPay’s net financial capacity was unable to enter into contracts with the government.

This led BOQ to abandon its contract with PisoPay.

“The PisoPay-BOQ fiasco did the Filipino people a disservice. We must not let this happen again and that is why I call on government agencies to be more careful. President Bongbong Marcos has been clear in his vision for an agile bureaucracy across a digital Philippines. We have to make sure that we achieve this goal by ensuring that the Filipinos are not the losers in the market,” Nograles said.

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