'Plan and save': BSP launches digital PERA platform to boost retirement savings

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2020 11:26 AM | Updated as of Sep 08 2020 12:29 PM

Handing money. August 26, 2019. Alec Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - More Filipinos will have access to affordable savings and investment products as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Tuesday launched the Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA), a digital platform where various retirement savings options are available anytime, anywhere.

The new PERA platform will help boost retirement savings using "convenient and affordable" programs, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said during the launch.

The platform is a one-stop shop for retirement savings, where Filipinos can open accounts, access and invest 24/7 anywhere in the world using just a mobile gadget, he said.

Costs are lower using the online platform and transactions can be paid using the BSP's InstaPay and PESONet, he said.

"The pandemic changed the way we live, work and communicate but the crisis also presents an opportunity to rethink our priorities and to prepare for our next steps moving forward," Diokno said.

"We hope to encourage more Filipinos to plan and save for the future amid these challenging times...Preparation is key when thinking about retirement and there is no better way to prepare when you’re still able and working," he added.

Out of the Philippines' 7.6 million senior citizens aged 60 and above, only 20 percent have Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System, leaving 80 percent "with no mandatory pension at all," Diokno said.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can use the platform to save a part of their earnings in preparation for retirement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said during the launch.

“Initiatives such as the digital PERA is the least this government can do for the heroic Filipinos working overseas and helping support our economy,” said Dominguez during the virtual launch.

“This is a major step towards the broadening of financial inclusion by enabling a convenient, safe, and seamless medium for both investment and retirement savings for the Filipino people,” he said.

A PERA law, which is a voluntary retirement account, has been enacted since 2008 but was delayed due to regulatory issues, Dominguez said.

Dominguez said government's financial institutions would need a "massive public campaign" to encourage Filipinos to engage in building their personal retirement fund.

Diokno said the target was to reach at least 5 million Filipinos within 5 years.