THE BANGSAMORO Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) has partnered with state-owned Amanah Islamic Bank for the regional government’s digital aid distribution program, initially covering emergency shelter assistance funds.
The tie-up will cover beneficiaries of storm Nalgae, locally named Paeng, which struck a large part of the Philippines in October, including several provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Tapping Amanah Islamic Bank, or Al-Amanah Islamic and Investment Bank of the Philippines (AAIIBP), is intended to expedite the distribution process, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
“MSSD’s Disaster Response and Management Division will take charge of the implementation of the Emergency Shelter Assistance Program while the ministry’s Finance Management Support Service Division will implement FAST”, MSSD Finance Division Chief Hamodi L. Tiboron said.
Mr. Tiboron was referring to the ministry’s Financial Assistance System Transformation (FAST), a project supported by UNICEF and the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Initiated in August, FAST aims to make aid payouts more convenient and efficient through digital platforms.
“Moving forward, there will be a possible partnership coverage expansion (with AAIIBP) should the current one will succeed,” Mr. Tiboron said.
Earlier this month, MSSD also started registering social aid recipients to a digital database.
“The beneficiaries who are registered under this digital system of payout will now be able to receive the cash assistance through either their individual accounts or over-the-counter transaction with partner digital payment service providers” Mr. Tiboron said during a Dec. 19 registration activity in a community under one of the region’s new areas.
Financial assistance under regular and nationally funded programs, excluding the national cash transfer scheme called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, are currently distributed through municipal social welfare officers.
AAIIB, created in 1990 through Republic Act 6848, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Development Bank of the Philippines in 2008. The sole Islamic bank in the country announced in November that Swiss project finance company Soleil Capitale Groupe GmbH (SCG) has acquired a 40% share following a winning bid for newly issued Series “C” shares. — MSJ