AN executive order (EO) liberalizing entry into the satellite industry may improve financial inclusion by increasing access to online financial services, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“This will be a big push for financial inclusion toward a more resilient and truly inclusive digitally-enabled new economy,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in a statement Friday. Mr. Diokno chairs the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC), an interagency body.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed EO 127 Thursday allowing registered internet service providers (ISPs) and value-added service providers (VASP) the use of all satellite systems to provide internet services

Prior to the EO, only telecommunications companies with legislative franchises were permitted to do so.

Mr. Diokno said the measure will promote competition and attract investment in satellite broadband services, as well as fill in the infrastructure gap in connectivity for remote areas.

The EO was endorsed by the 20-member FISC to the president in November, according to the central bank, as it was considered crucial in promoting financial and economic inclusion by providing more people with fast internet.

“In combination with the roll-out of the Philippine National Identification System (PhilSys) and its electronic know-your-customer facility, greater internet access will allow more unbanked rural clients and low-income communities to use digital financial services and meaningfully benefit from digital innovation,” the FISC said.

The central bank has been pushing for the acceleration of financial inclusion, including the Open Access in Data Transmission bill which removes the need to secure congressional franchises for broadband.

The BSP has set a target of 70% of the adult population having at least one bank account by 2023. As of 2019, that indicator stood at 29% of adults. An estimated 51.2 million remain unbanked.

The central bank wants 50% of financial transactions by volume and value to be performed digitally by 2023. — Beatrice M. Laforga