‘Kasambahay’ law compliance through e-money

By: Rima Jessamine Granali, June 13th, 2013 03:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines—The “Mayas” and “Ser Chiefs” in the country may start paying contributions for social security, housing and health insurance through their cell phones in July.

With the BayadLoad of Smart Communications Inc., paying would be as easy as buying load or “suka” (vinegar) in nearby sari-sari stores, said Ramon Isberto, spokesman of both Smart and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

BayadLoad is an e-money platform that enables employers and their kasambahay (house help) like the characters in the popular TV series “Be Careful with my Heart” to comply with the Kasambahay Law without the hassle of queuing at the branches of the Social Security System (SSS), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), in banks and other payment centers.

The law, which took effect on June 4, entitles workers to SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig coverage.

Self-employed individuals may also use the service. It would be available to Smart, Talk ’N Text and Sun Cellular subscribers on July 1.

“The experience is kind of similar to buying load in convenience or sari-sari stores,” Isberto said in a phone interview. “It’s like buying vinegar in stores.”

First-time users need to register their SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig accounts through their mobile phones, he explained.

Once the payment has been transmitted to Land Bank of the Philippines (the government’s official depository bank), the employers and their kasambahay would receive an SMS notification.

“Landbank is proud to be Smart’s strategic partner in making financial inclusion truly a reality by enabling its massive distribution network of over one million retailers nationwide as conduits in reloading the BayadLoad wallets of their more than 70 million subscribers,” Gilda Pico, Landbank president and CEO, said in a statement.

It brings government service to the sari-sari store level and more at the fingertips of the mobile users, Pico added.

PLDT Group chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said, “BayadLoad is the answer to a smoother implementation of the Kasambahay Law.”

According to Isberto, most house helpers are not familiar with bank transactions and are more familiar with “pasaload” and other mobile phone services.

There is a “great need” for the BayadLoad service, he added. “Many households don’t realize that like companies, they have to abide and follow the monthly remittances.”

The service makes it “much simpler and much easier” for employers and their house help, he said.

Smart started “retailers’ assemblies” in May to orient the retailers on how to go about the service and to help them assist potential customers.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved the service and issued the license to the telecommunications giant on Thursday.

The mobile phone service provider is also planning to serve as a payment channel for other government fees, such as securing a driver’s license at the Land Transportation Office, clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation, birth certificate from the National Statistics Office and a new passport from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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