THE Department of Finance (DoF) said the digital-only Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank and the electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) program are set to roll out by the third quarter of 2020.

In a statement Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), which he chairs, has committed to have the digital-only and branchless OFBank “up and running” by the end of June to serve Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“We set up this OF Bank a couple of years ago. We’ve had problems with the technology but I think with (LANDBANK President Cecilia C. Borromeo)’s leadership, we are almost ready to launch,” Mr. Dominguez was quoted as saying in a recent appearance before the House of Representatives.

According to Ms. Borromeo, OFBank on Jan. 30 obtained a “No Objection” clearance from the central bank on the use of a “digital onboarding system with artificial intelligence (AI)” as its electronic know-your-customer process.

Mr. Dominguez said the electronic invoice and sales reporting system or e-invoicing system will also be rolled out by the third quarter.

“The biggest (digitalization) program we’re working on now is e-invoicing. Once we get that e-invoicing program set up, that will mean a big step in e-governance,” he was quoted as saying in a DoF statement Friday.

The DoF in June 2019 said it targets full implementation of the e-invoicing system by the end of 2022, which is expected to produce administrative savings and streamlined processes for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“We have been working on that for the last year or so, and we should come to a conclusion, a good program by the middle of, or maybe the third quarter of this year,” he added.

Late last year, the Philippines tapped Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for a $7.3 million grant aiding the first phase of the project’s implementation.

BIR said that around 100 taxpayers have been identified as potential participants in the pilot test ahead of the system’s mandatory implementation.

Under Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, large taxpayers and exporters are required, within the next five years, to issue invoices, receipts and sales data digitally to the Bureau at the point of sale. — Beatrice M. Laforga