Photo caption: 16 June 2020, New York – Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. highlights the Philippine Government’s policies and measures to lower remittance costs and digitalize financial transactions against the backdrop of the pandemic and its impacts on international migrants globally during the International Day of Family Remittances commemoration event. END
16 June 2020, New York – Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping remittances flowing and lowering transactions costs can help migrants improve the lives and well-being of their families and communities of origin, and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This was the main message of the celebration this year of the International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR2020), co-convened by the Governments of the Philippines, Guatemala, Madagascar, Moldova and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Speaking during the event, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin highlighted the Philippine Government’s policies and measures to lower remittance costs and digitalize financial transactions against the backdrop of the pandemic and its multidimensional impacts on around 272 million international migrants globally. With an expected drop in remittances to the Philippines due to displaced and repatriated overseas Filipino workers, Secretary Locsin stressed that “our advocacy in keeping remittances is focused on maximizing benefits to senders and receivers of remittances.”
During the community quarantine, the Philippine Government classified remittance service providers (RSPs) as essential services and they are allowed to operate even during the lockdown. The government also provided further assistance to RSPs when the Central Bank waived its fees and charges for financial institutions that offer digital channels for, among others, social benefit transfers and remittances. The relief is provided for the duration of the community quarantine period.
In pushing for lowering remittance costs especially on furthering the deployment of digital technology, the Philippine Government, pre-pandemic, has jumpstarted reforms in the digital banking system in pursuit of the SDG target of lowering remittance costs. The National Retail Payment System is one of the government’s initiatives that lower remittance costs. An initiative of the Central Bank of the Philippines, this is an electronic money scheme that aims to directly address market segmentation by creating a central infrastructure that is accessible to all industry players, much like a shared highway for stakeholders to deliver their services on a common and level-up playing field.
H.E. Ambassador Brolo Vila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala; H.E. Mr. James Duddridge, Minister for Africa of the United Kingdom; H.E. Mr.Ion Perju, Minister of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment of the Republic of Moldova; H.E. Ms. Vero Henintosa Andriamiarisoa, Chargé ď Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Madagascar to the United Nations, together with Mr. Paul Winters, Associate Vice President of IFAD also participated in the commemoration event.
On 12 June 2018, the Philippines, together with Algeria, Guatemala and Madagascar, led the adoption by the Seventy-Second General Assembly of the landmark resolution that declared 16 June as the International Day on Family Remittances. END