Mayor Binay leads Makati’s Smart City evolution
Makati City is now a step closer to transforming itself into a “Smart City” after forging a collaboration agreement with Globe Telecom, its subsidiary G-XChange Inc. (GXI), and iBayad Online Ventures Inc., for the launch of the Makatizen Card, which will be available to Makati residents and workers soon.
Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay said the initiative supports Globe’s drive to transform the Philippines into a digital nation by instilling the importance of e-governance to offices ranging from the local government units up to the national government level.
Some 1,000 functioning sample cards were launched and tested at Makati City Hall on Tuesday morning.
Although there is still no definite date yet on the full implementation, Binay said the city’s 500,000 residents can use the card to transact the services of the city government.
With the card, Makati residents can receive cash allowances, stipends and other cash benefits using their Makatizen Card. They can also use their cards to pay fees and taxes, as well as for personal remittances and other financial transactions.
City hall employees, on the other hand, can use their Makatizen Card to receive salaries and allowances, prompting Binay to remind them not to pawn their card.
The Makatizen Card also functions as an automated teller machine Card and is a valid government ID card.
Binay said the Makatizen Card collaboration with Globe and its subsidiaries “takes us a step nearer to achieving our goal of empowering everyone, including those in the marginalized sectors of society, to enjoy a better quality of life”.
She that the Makatizen Card goes beyond providing Makati citizens with instant access to essential services of the city government, which in itself is a major leap forward for the city.
“The wide range of digital and mobile services offers the people of Makati more convenient and cost-effective ways of meeting their day-to-day needs and obligations,” she added.
The mayor said the city government will extend its full support to Globe Telecom’s initiatives “geared towards strengthening its telecommunications network to promote a digitally connected Philippines”.
“With confidence and optimism, we view this unsolicited project proposal from Globe and its subsidiaries as the springboard for the rapid transformation of Makati into the country’s first digital city, where citizens and civil servants are able to experience the optimum benefits of the latest innovations in information technology,” she added.
“For the Philippines to truly become a digital nation, we need to fully take advantage of new digital opportunities and innovations to enable growth in every corner of our country. We laud the vision of the Makati City government whose support of this initiative is critical to build the city-wide digital ecosystem, a step toward the realization of our dream for the Philippines to become an admired nation,” said Ernest Cu, Globe president and CEO.
Globe has been ramping up network investments in a bid to amplify benefits of its new spectrum assets and enhance mobile services, particularly for data. The company has announced a capital spend of $750 million for the year in an effort to continuously improve mobile and data services.
Globe Business, the enterprise information and communications technology (ICT) arm of Globe, is leading the way in encouraging local government units like Makati City to adopt the integration of ICT and governance as a means of improving the delivery of government services and exchange of information.
One of the capabilities derived from an improved mobile and broadband infrastructure is the creation of a city-wide cashless ecosystem wherein e-payment methods such as e-money and debit/credit cards are utilized instead of physical cash. This will benefit not only the residents but also schools, hospitals, government offices, transportation facilities, and other micro, small, and medium-size enterprises.
GXI will serve as the financial service provider for the Makatizen Card while iBayad will deploy the mPOS terminals and build the merchant network where the cards will be accepted.
The Makatizen Card is a valid government-issued ID that comes with a near-field communication (NFC) feature that allows city offices equipped with iBayad machine readers to verify the identity of residents and Makati City employees in a single tap. It stores the information which easily identifies the card holder availing of various city government services without the need to present additional documents.
For his part, Albert Tinio, President of GXI which operates GCash mobile money service said that each Makatizen Card carries the features of the GCash mobile wallet but is also customized to be used in the city-wide local merchant network.
“All services that they will get in Makati City, whether it is payment of taxes, cash allowances for health and other benefits, etc. will be directly credited to this GCash wallet that is linked to the card. They don’t have to carry anything except this ID,” he said.
On the other hand, iBayad Founder and CEO Paolo G. Saycon said: “For us, the Makatizen Card Project is as much a social endeavor, as it is a business venture. This undertaking is aligned with iBayad’s purpose of developing socially relevant and meaningful financial innovations that will transform the way people pay. Our objective is to accelerate the adoption and transformation of every consumer’s traditional spending behaviour from cash-centric to electronic payments.”
Makatizen Card holders can take advantage of the different financial services of GCash and the merchant network support of iBayad to pay government institutions, hospitals, merchants and even transact with Jollijeeps, sari-sari stores, and ambulant vendors for easier and safer transactions.
As an additional benefit for Makati City residents and employees, iBayad will be implementing the “Makatizen Loyalty and Rewards Program” to promote continued use of the card and for them earn loyalty reward points that can used to purchase items. The card will also be used for direct and real-time crediting of salaries and benefits to the GCash wallets of employees, health beneficiaries, senior citizens, and students to improve operational efficiency and tracking of cash flow.