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Diokno showcases PH’s digitalization progress, urges global community to rapidly digitalize payments to accelerate climate action

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES––Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has showcased the progress of the Philippines’ digitalization initiatives and urged the global community to rapidly digitalize payments as a means to accelerate climate action in a 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) side event on December 4, 2023 at the Philippine Pavilion.

With the support of UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, the “Responsible Digital Payments to Accelerate Climate Action” event served as a platform to launch a new global Call-to-Action urging governments, humanitarian actors, and international financial institutions to support emergency response and climate resilience through inclusive digital payments.

Located in the typhoon belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire, with about 60 percent of the population situated along coastlines, the Philippines constantly experiences unavoidable losses and damages amounting to around US$ 10 billion over the past decade due to climate-related hazards.

Annual losses from typhoons have been estimated at 1.2 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP). About US$ 3.2 billion per year will be lost due to future typhoons and earthquakes.

“These staggering numbers have prompted the government to explore and develop innovative solutions to secure a climate-resilient future for the Philippines,” Secretary Diokno said in his opening remarks.

When he served as Central Bank Governor, Secretary Diokno led the launch of the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which identifies initiatives and strategies for creating an efficient, safe, and inclusive payments ecosystem in the Philippines.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) targets to convert 50 percent of all retail payments into digital form by 2023.

According to the Finance Secretary, digitalizing the payments system can help unlock greater efficiency and more options for beneficiaries of social protection programs.

This is evidenced by the Philippines’ successful Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which brought rapid relief to affected sectors of the country through digital cash transfers.

Even development partners that utilized the 4Ps’ digital payment platform for