SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian wants every Filipino to own a bank account to ensure safe, efficient and prompt delivery of “graft-free” government financial aid.

Gatchalian said owning a bank account should be a basic requirement for all Filipinos, regardless of socio-economic class.

“We already have the national ID (identification). There’s a bill that I want to file, I call it ‘One Filipino, One Bank Account,’” he said in a radio interview Sunday.

He said contactless and cashless payments are possible using mobile phones as digital wallets. He noted over 74 million Filipinos were already using smartphones as of 2019.

Using software applications installed in smartphones, payments can be made through scanning or card readers.

“During this pandemic, the government remits money to the bank account and people get it ayuda (cash aid) from there. It is up to them how will they spend the grant,” he said.

“Even people dispensing cash might get infected with Covid-19. Who will then dispense the money?” the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks said.

A financial inclusion survey conducted by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2019 showed that 51.2 million Filipinos or 71 percent of the population have no bank account.

The lack of enough money was the main reason cited for not having a bank account, followed by the perceived lack of need for an account (27 percent) and lack of documentary requirements (26 percent).

The same survey showed access to technology has increased awareness of online payments, with 38 percent owning a smartphone and 42 percent using the internet at least once a month.

Among those using the internet, 86 percent connect through their mobile data.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported 82 percent of the 10.5 million initial registrants to the Philippine Identification System, or the national ID system, have no bank accounts.

The PSA aims to bring 70 million into the national ID system in 2021.