MANILA - Two government departments and the Philippine military will be switching to cashless transactions this year in an effort to curb corruption in procurements of minor items such as airplane tickets and meals, President Aquino announced Wednesday.
Speaking at the start of the three-day Good Governance Summit, the President said there is a need to trim down the huge volume of cash transactions in government offices that can pose a temptation to even honest government employees.
Aquino said cashless purchase cards (CPC) will be issued to agencies "for low value payments of a restricted number and type of goods and services."
He said the CPCs will resemble ordinary credit cards with additional restrictions more suited to the needs of government.
Cashless purchase cards will first be distributed to the Department of Budget and Management, Department of National Defense and the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the first quarter of the year.
The cards can be used to purchase medical supplies, meals, transportation of official documents, airline tickets, and construction supplies for minor repairs.
"If all goes well, the program will be rolled out and cashless purchase cards will be distributed in other national government agencies next year," the President said.
He also said suspicious use of the cards can be tracked easily and will also allow the budget department to collate data on which programs need funding and how much cash is needed on a daily basis in government offices.
A statement on the official Philippine government website (www.gov.ph) said the cashless purchase cards is a joint effort between the Aquino administration and Citibank, through which the government’s financial transactions will be made entirely through electronic means instead of cash or checks.
"The Cashless Card will function in much the same manner as a corporate credit card, which government employees and offices can use for their procurement needs," it said.
Aquino said 54% of all government retail transactions are done through a cashless system. He said the goal of his administration is to make government financial transactions "100% check-less and 80% cash-less" before the end of the year.
Similarly, the President said the government will also launch Open Data Philippines, which will be the single and comprehensive portal for all government data. The portal will have more than 400 data sets spanning all departments and agencies and will be made accessible to the public through http://wwww.data.gov.ph, starting January 16.
Aquino said data on the use of the cashless purchase cards will be made available in the Open Data portal. He said the portal will also include information such as total number of enrollment of students in public secondary schools at a certain period as well as procurement data.
He said opening of data will make statistics understandable through the use of reader-friendly visualizations.
"As the project progresses, we can only expect the wealth and depth of data online to grow," he said.