Angara, Pangilinan call for suspension of online transaction fees amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Senators Sonny Angara and Francis Pangilinan want the collection of online transaction fees suspended amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In separate statements, Angara and Pangilinan called for the extension of the waiver on fees for digital transactions of banks and mobile payment services.
“Right now every family is penny-pinching due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so every peso saved goes a long way,” Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said Thursday.
“We appeal to our banks and financial institutions to suspend their collection of fees for digital transactions during this very challenging time,” he added.
Several banks and mobile money services will resume their collection of fees on Thursday, October 1. Meanwhile, others will continue to waive such fees until the end of the year.
Banks initially waived online transaction fees voluntarily but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) later urged all entities under its regulation to waive such fees to encourage the public to use online banking to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Pangilinan urged the BSP to “step in” and “suspend or slash the online transaction fees during this health emergency.”
“Pataas pa rin ang kaso ng nagkakasakit ng COVID. Kailangan pa ring tutukan ang kaligtasan ng ating mamamayan. Habang di pa humuhupa ang pagkalat ng COVID, mas mainam kung suspindehin o babaan muna ang pagkolekta ng mga online transaction fees,” the senator said.
(The number of COVID-19 cases is rising. We need to focus on the safety of our people. While the transmission of the virus has yet to be slowed down, we should suspend or slash online transaction fees.)
To date, the Philippines has reported 311,694 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 253,488 have already recovered while 5,504 have died.
Pangilinan said the waiver of online fees or at least cutting the amount will be a big help to Filipinos who lost their jobs because of the lockdowns imposed in light of the pandemic.
“May kwento sa akin, may isang labandera dito sa Metro Manila na sole breadwinner ngayon dahil nawalan ng trabaho ang mister,” Pangilinan said.
(Someone told me about this laundrywoman here in Metro Manila, she is the sole breadwinner after her husband had lost his job.)
“Nagpapadala siya ng pera sa Masbate para makapag-aral yung mga anak niya. Pag nagkataon daw, pangkain pa sana nila sa tanghalian yung transaction fee,” he added.
(She sends money to Masbate for the tuition of her children, the waived transaction fee could have paid for one meal.)
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