Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad on Sunday said that the initial implementation of the Aquino administration’s Cashless Purchase Card System program is the first step in preventing unliquidated spending in government, especially in light of a Commission on Audit (COA) announcement that P5 billion in state funds have yet to be accounted for.
“Cashless cards will play a defining role in ridding government transactions of the corruption they’re notorious for. The cards will do away with petty cash advances and payments in procurement, and the details of each transaction will be recorded in real-time and on a web-based platform. Overall, the digitization of the procurement process will be key in ensuring that every peso spent by government officials and employees is well-spent and accounted for,” Abad said.
The program, launched last year, is in its initial phase and is currently being pilot-tested in the DBM and the Department of Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND-AFP).
The Administration partnered with Citibank in rolling out the cards, which will have features similar to most credit cards.
In the pilot phase of the Cashless Purchase Card System program, participating agencies will use the cards to procure medical supplies, meals, transportation of official documents, airline tickets, and construction supplies for minor repair projects.
Abad said that the Administration expects to implement the program across all government agencies next year, as well as expand the list of items that are eligible for procurement through cashless cards.
“Automating government processes and switching to cashless solutions doesn’t only save time and resources. By integrating and digitizing the procurement process, we can seal off the gaps that make it easy for irregularities to happen. In the case of cashless purchase cards, we’re tying together what used to be separate transactions: procurement, payment, and auditing,” Abad said.
“Once we’ve successfully established the use of these cards in government, there won’t be any room for unliquidated expenses, as every detail will be tracked from the beginning of the transaction. It’s not just a matter of doing our public auditors a favor. It’s also a matter of assuring our citizens that the government is using state funds honestly and responsibly,” he added. PNA