One who stays in the Netherlands (I cannot speak for other rich countries) surely realizes the importance of the automated teller machine, or the plastic money. All official transactions in this country are paid electronically. So it is very important that you have a bank account with an ATM card.

People order products from the internet and pay after they are sent the bill. That also goes for dental and medical payments or even school payments. You get your salary via the ATM card that you applied for yourself. When you go to government offices and ask for authentication of your papers, you can pay via the “plantsa”, the tiny iron-looking machines where you slip your card in, push the pincode and voila, you’re paid. No cash. Especially in government transactions.

That makes me realize how plastic money helps to make sure that there is no corruption in government transactions here. You do not have to pay with cash so you cannot tell the person that you will give him or her an amount above what is asked of you as a “tip” to “fastrack your papers”. Well, we already know that that kind of behavior is not appreciated here. But having these little machines even make the message more clear: “government employees do not have to handle cash, corruption is not appreciated”.

It would have been nice if we can do this in the Philippines. Do this to all government offices and the citizens are assured that they are paying the right amount. The transactions are faster because the employees do not have to waste time, ink and paper in writing down receipts. Since no cash will linger in the department, the people who handle payments will not be tempted to treat it as their own. And they cannot overprice transactions.

Just imagine how much corruption from the grassroots will be easily controlled. Good for the government, good for the people. But then it makes you think how creative corrupt officials could get. Before this cashless-payment can even be implemented, there has to be a bidding for the “plantsas”. And I will not be surprised if mapa-plantsa din ang bidding.#