30 September 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Her Majesty Queen Maxima, lauded the Philippines for “doing extremely well in financial inclusion, in a meeting today with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly.
Secretary del Rosario and Queen Maxima also discussed current initiatives since the launch of the Philippines National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) held in Manila on July 01.
“A resilient and inclusive financial sector is being pursued under President Aquino’s Social Contract with the Filipino people as highlighted in the 2011-2016 and Philippine Development Plan,” Secretary Del Rosario told Queen Maxima.
The principle of financial inclusion is currently being incorporated in crafting the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.
“The Philippines is doing extremely well in financial inclusion,” Queen Maxima, in turn, emphasized. The Queen observed that so much has been happening since her visit to the Philippines almost three months ago.
Within only a month following the launch of the NSFI, nearly 30 private sector players have approached the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, presenting clear proposals to support NSFI implementation.
The Secretary also updated Queen Maxima on current Philippine initiatives on financial inclusion which range from drafting a Consumer Protection Bill and reviewing the financial awareness campaign of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation, finalizing Tactical Plans detailing measurable indicators and milestones for NSFI programs, initiatives and activities, to establishing an interoperable National Retail Payment System and crafting policy initiatives related to microfinance and microinsurance that would ensure access to financial services by the poor and low-income sectors.
Queen Maxima said that the mandate of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) includes financial inclusion and also committed the assistance of the Government of The Netherlands when required.
Under APEC, microinsurance was endorsed and approved as one of the Cebu Action Plan deliverables, under the third pillar on “Enhancing Financial Resiliency.”
Given the Philippines’ experience as the first country in Asia to establish mobile banking, “we are interested to learn more from the Philippines on climate insurance in terms of pilot projects...as climate change is not a matter of if a disaster will happen, but when it will happen,” Queen Maxima explained. “The Philippines should be the voice on financial inclusion,” she added.
Secretary Del Rosario also conveyed that the Philippines was cited by the Microinsurance Network as having “the highest microinsurance coverage in APEC.”
Queen Maxima was designated as UN SGSA for Inclusive Finance for Development in September 2009. In this capacity, she advises the UN Secretary- General and works worldwide to make financial services accessible to all, including low-income groups and the SME sector. END