During the quarantine period that began on March 16, traveling to public places and crowd gatherings have stopped. People have stayed home to avoid contracting the COVID-19 disease. Thus, co-op members and staff stayed home. Many co-ops, especially in urban centers closed.
But thanks to the KAYA Payment Platform offered by NATCCO to co-ops, members can transact and pay bills thru three channels: ATMs, over-the-counter, and using their cellphones anytime, anywhere as long as they have internet connection.
At a virtual or online meeting among co-op leaders to discuss the status of co-ops in the Philippines, attended by co-op leaders, CDA officials, and leaders of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), NATCCO Payment Services Group Head, Evangeline Lopez said: “With physical distancing becoming part of the new normal, how can the CDA push for the digitalization of cooperatives to that services of coops to their members can continue and at the same time protecting health and safety of employees and members?”
CDA Executive Director Ray Elevazo replied: “CDA recognizes that the system should be toward digitalization of co-ops. We appreciate this. We are prepared to do this because CDA officials were orientated on the digital economy. We are operated by online systems today. We meet and collaborate as an agency. Our board and Execom meets, down to the lowest level. That is why we appreciate digitalization. We want co-ops using this technology so that they will be protected in terms of their health and operational efficiency. We are positive that digitalization is beneficial to coops.”
“We appreciate the efforts of NATCCO & PFCCO in promoting KAYA. However, we must recognize that the CDA is a government entity and we do have limitations.”
ACCU CEO Leni San Roque, suggested: “CDA can endorse KAYA Payment Platform, which is the only cooperative-led platform in the world. Right now, the thrust of NATCCO, ACCU, Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO), and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And together, we are going to take this to the next level.”
And that next level is an inter-operatibility platform where the KAYA will be connecting all the Payment Platforms in the Philippines and even Asia. Inter-operatility of platforms will be on a Regional basis as a pilot.
Co-op expect that digital or online payments will be part of daily life.
San Roque added: “The Philippines is taking the lead and is the champion in Asia. We ask for CDA’s blessing.”
Elevazo was quick to give CDA’s recognition: “We appreciate the efforts of NATCCO & PFCCO in promoting KAYA. However, we must recognize that the CDA is a government entity and we do have limitations.”
Lopez replied: “We have to ready an agreement with Atty. Futalan and NATCCO that we will go around the country to educate. . . especially the credit and savings cooperatives to use the KAYA Platform. All coops are using the Maya. It is hightime for us to push coops to switch from Maya to Kaya.
Atty. Gloria Futalan is Chairperson of the PFCCO-Visayas. She said: “Since the start of the quarantine, the CDA has done initiatives to promote KAYA. Had KAYA been marketed earlier, we could have made full use of it. Right now, NATCCO and PFCCO, together with CDA and BSP are working together. In April CDA drafted a letter requesting BSP to allow us to participate in the National Retail Payment System (NRPS). Hopefully this will be a wakeup call to our leaders to adopt KAYA in their co-ops. They really need all the means to deliver services to members in the midst of the pandemic.”
All delegates agreed that KAYA Payment Platform will push financial inclusion, making co-op financial services available to more Filipinos.
Barbaza MPC in Antique leads Philippine co-ops in using KAYA for its transactions: salaries of staff, payments for cable and internet services, and other transactions especially with the co-op.