In the fight to contain COVID-19 and its effects, collaboration between the private sector and the national government is crucial. This is why BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, supported RapidPass and ReliefAgad, two government programs designed to help frontliners and Filipinos severely affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The RapidPass System and ReliefAgad Program are ways to make movement and transactions more efficient in communities under enhanced community quarantine and general community quarantine,” explained Teresita Sy-Coson, chairperson of BDO. “Because these initiatives will benefit the communities, they are in line with the objectives of BDO Foundation.”
In support of RapidPass, the foundation donated 300 smartphones with prepaid loads and 550 power banks to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The items were turned over by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito to DOST National Capital Region regional director Jose Patalinjug III.
The donation helps the implementation of the RapidPass System, enabling the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to safely and efficiently scan QR codes at checkpoints and facilitate the quick passage of vehicles of more than 500,000 authorized frontliners and critical service personnel. RapidPass minimizes vehicle congestion at 180 control points and speeds up the delivery of essential goods during the quarantine. The system prevents COVID-19 transmissions and ultimately helps stimulate economic activity.
“The system allows frontline personnel to apply for a digital pass,” explained Winston Damarillo, chief executive of Developers Connect Philippines, the non-profit organization behind both RapidPass and ReliefAgad. “Holders of the pass may go through a special lane without the need for additional documents. Checkpoint officers verify passes via encrypted high-speed scanners provided by BDO Foundation. This saves time at checkpoints.”
BDO Foundation also supported ReliefAgad, a web application that automates and accelerates the distribution of financial assistance to beneficiaries of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the digital app enables the efficient collection of beneficiary information.
“BDO Foundation provided support to facilitate one-time passwords to users of ReliefAgad. Through its assistance, the foundation ensures that SAP beneficiaries receive their subsidies in a timely and secure manner,” Damarillo shared.
With the ReliefAgad Program in place, millions of Filipinos—underserved individuals who lost their incomes due to the pandemic—are expected to receive cash aid safely as they avoid long lines in crowded public spaces and exposure to COVID-19. Beneficiaries also have options to obtain financial assistance through electronic payment systems or directly from banks.