Cash Agad is a service that turns community-based shops and similar establishments into a neighborhood ATM. It has been operating in both far-flung and semi-urban communities for the past several years, allowing residents to make cash withdrawals, receive remittances and government cash subsidies,make balance inquiries, and get access to calamity funds and loan releases.
An Access-to-money Story From Mindanao
According to Elsa Pardo, a store owner from Lantapan, a municipality in Bukidnon Province, Mindanao, until today there’s just one single bank operating in their community.
When the bank’s ATM runs out of cash or is in need of repair, people will have to wait and endure a few days without cash. Those who can’t afford to wait would have to go to the nearest urban area which is some 14 kilometers away. Transport fares can get quite expensive.
According to Elsa, sometimes even these other ATMs also run out of cash or go offline. In such cases, people would have to return home and go back the following day.
How much more when quarantines were imposed due to COVID-19? Can you imagine how difficult their access to funds was?
“Mahirap dito noong nagka-quarantine. Hindi makalabas yung mga tao. Kaya sabi nila, it’s a good thing there’s Cash Agad. Kasi mas madali na sa kanila mag-withdraw ng pera. Kung pupunta pa sila sa malayo, madami pang aasikasuhing requirements. Kailangan pa ng quarantine pass. Travel pass. Very inconvenient. Pag dito sa Cash Agad, malapit lang tapos makukuha pa agad yung pera. Sandali lang ang queueing time,” Elsa explained.
Cash Agad is indeed one example of a bank’s faith in the resilience and resourcefulness of Filipinos in the countryside. Elsa’s story is just one of the pieces of proof that the unhindered access to cash provided by Cash Agad is crucial to people’s life whether or not there is a pandemic.
“Financial inclusion in far-flung communities is a driver for economic growth. Some places are too far away or located in terrain that make it difficult, logistically, to build a bank branch. Take for example some islands or mountainous regions. That’s why innovative services like Cash Agad are a way to bridge the gap. As more spending occurs in a community, the better for residents and businesses,” said Jim Nasol, Head of Agency Banking, BDO.
The service of Cash Agad affects wider than the household of the card holder. In a more expanded horizon, when you give the people in more communities ready access to cash, the spending and capital flow increase. Thus the local economy lives, grows.
*It was BDO Unibank Inc. that first originated the idea of the services offered by Cash Agad.
Banking and remittances are crucial to our survival, sanity, and happiness.
“Mahilig ang mga Pinoy sa drama eh. Pero pati comedy rin. Etong mga videos, parang pinagsama yan tapos may twist. Yung pangkalahatan na mensahe ng video ay kailangan natin ngayon: yung kasiyahan at pag-asa.” Piolo Pascual, Ex-OFW, Philippine Actor on the new BDO Remit video Ads.
*The videos are shown in BDO branches, on BDO’s YouTube channel and on BDO Kabayan Facebook page.
BDO Remit – through BDO Kabayan Savings – its special savings & remittance account for the overseas Filipino market – has become a lifeline for overseas Filipinos during the pandemic. BDO Remit has kept its services running to help Filipinos overseas and their families cope with the challenges of the pandemic.
CALL FOR BAYANIHAN
Piolo added that the new videos show precisely how to help. “In all the videos, mapapansin mo na kahit light and funny ang approach, malinaw ang mensahe: kapag ang kapwa Pinoy ay nasa alanganin, kapwa Pinoy ang tutulong. Hindi naman kailangan na solohin natin ang problema. Ang lakas ng Pilipino, nasa pagtutulungan, bayanihan. Especially during this pandemic, which is a huge, global problem, we need to call on the best in ourselves and help each other,” he said.
The new video commercials are light-hearted spin-offs or even slight spoofs of classic scenes in his movies “Milan” (with Claudine Barretto) and “Starting Over Again” (with Toni Gonzaga). As the videos’ release coincides with OFs’ present situation, they take on more significance and meaning in Piolo’s view.
Piolo has played several OF characters in various dramatic films–it’s a role that he also knows in real life because he used to be a security guard in Los Angeles, California before he achieved Philippine movie stardom.
“Ang drama natin ngayon, real life. Pandemic. Lost jobs. Quarantine. Sandaang araw na itong drama. Hindi kagaya ng drama sa pelikula, two hours lang. So we need relief, we need to feel lighter, to see that we can still smile. Ma-realize lang natin na, oo nga, okay pa rin tumawa, magsaya. Na meron pa ring pag-asa. May solusyon. We can always find ways,” said Piolo.
Funny videos help Overseas Filipinos (OF) bear the pandemic’s mental burden
Experts in the Philippines and other countries have been warning us: along with the wave of COVID-19 infections would be a wave of mental illness. There’s no avoiding that: people are anxious, afraid, and many have lost jobs and face an uncertain future. Add to that our collective isolation, loneliness, and dread. Overseas Filipinos (OFs) are particularly vulnerable.
Actor Piolo Pascual is among those calling for more support for OFs during the pandemic. He said that overseas Filipinos are already under a great amount of pressure as they face tough emotional, physical, and financial challenges. It’s not surprising then that some of them would have mental health issues.
“For decades, our economy benefited from billions of dollars in remittances. At this time, it’s our turn to give back and support OFs now that they are going through both a pandemic and an economic downturn,” said Piolo.
Reaching out, getting help
Piolo said that the most important thing that OFs need to remember is to reach out for help. “Marami kasi sa atin, may tendency to keep things to ourselves. Masyado tayong matiisin. Akala natin puntos para sa atin yung magdusa. No, it’s not. Kung malungkot ka, o masama ang loob, call a friend. Makipag-usap sa kapamilya. Wala namang award na ibibigay sa iyo kapag sinarili mo ang problema mo. Nagiging delikado lang lalo ang mental health mo,” he said.
He also reminded OFs not to hesitate getting professional help if needed. “There’s still a stigma over mental health. Sa panahon ngayon, hindi na dapat ikahiya ang mental illness. Tratuhin natin na tulad lang ng ibang sakit sa katawan.” He noted that there’s no shame in getting help in order to be better in our minds and emotions.’
Piolo added that people should be more empathetic and compassionate. “Pag may lumapit sa atin dahil nalulungkot, o may problema. Huwag balewalain. Sometimes, we say, ‘Kaya mo yan!’ pagkatapos iiwanan natin.. Hindi sapat yun. Huwag natin iwanan. Samahan natin tapos pakinggan natin.Hindi naman kailangan tayo ang mag-solve ng problema. Basta maiparamdam natin na hindi siya nag-iisa. Na nandon tayo to support him or her.”
All the new videos aren’t just fun and enjoyable to watch but also showcase how Filipinos, deep down, are ready to help someone in need. During this public health and economic crisis, all essential services–including banking and remittances–have become crucial to our survival, sanity, and happiness. The pandemic and economic crunch may last longer than expected. But as Piolo’s commercials show, in their own witty and hilarious way, we still have each other. And that’s worth the effort to keep on fighting and hoping.
Piolo Pascual temporarily left showbiz at age 19 to join his mom and other siblings in California, USA. There, he juggled two jobs, working as a hospital staff during the day and as a security guard in downtown Los Angeles at night. He was working almost 16 hours a day, only to make ends meet. While very challenging, he said his life abroad was full of valuable lessons, which helped him achieve financial freedom.
Piolo Pascual as a doubly-worked Overseas Filipino
When I migrated to the US, I had to start from scratch. I had to work right away or else I wouldn’t have any food on the table,” he said of his early struggles.
“I had two jobs because my salary was not enough to pay for my insurance, my car, my rental, my food, and allowance,” Piolo added.
Two years after moving to the US, he decided to go back home. He wanted to give acting another try. While his years as an OF didn’t last long, he credits much of his success to the valuable lessons he learned while living and working abroad.
“I wouldn’t be what I am today if it weren’t for the hardships I went thru as an OF. I learned to work very hard to be able to pay for things but at the same time, I learned not to spend beyond my means. It really takes discipline to be practical and not buy things that you really do not need,” he emphasized.
More importantly, he learned that part of protecting your hard-earned money is choosing the right remittance partner, one that not only promises convenience but security as well.
Piolo Pascual as a then dependent of an Overseas Filipino
“My mom was already in the US when we were growing up. At that time, it was so hard for us to get money from her for our schooling. We would then go to an agency, which would charge us with all sorts of fees. BDO really changed the landscape of remittance. They made it easy for Filipinos overseas to send money to their loved ones,” he said.
BDO Remit is the global remittance service brand of BDO, the largest bank in the Philippines. BDO Remit’s flagship service—BDO Kabayan Savings—is the heart of bank’s service to the Overseas Filipinos and their families. Through this service, customers receive remittances in a fast, safe and convenient manner, and at the same time, are entitled to unique and long-term benefits that aim to protect their future such as free life and accident insurance.
By having an account, you build credit history with the bank, making it easier for you to apply for a car, home, or business loan in the Philippines.
Open a BDO Kabayan Savings account now at the nearest BDO branch. Requirements and steps below.
As a former OF, Piolo said he knows how much our kababayans abroad sacrifice just to be able to provide for their families back home and so he cautions OFs against sending money to just any remittance agency especially those they just happen to see online.
“You are entrusting your hard-earned money to others. Always go for someone who is trustworthy, who has a track record, and who has been there for a long time. The last thing that you want to happen is for your money not to reach your loved ones. That’s why I always choose BDO. With BDO, you are confident that your money will be safely remitted to your loved ones back home,” he said.
HOW TO OPEN A BDO KABAYAN SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Overseas Filipino and their beneficiaries may open a BDO Kabayan Savings Account at ANY BDO branch in the Philippines.
Only PHP100 (for PHP account) or US$100 (for USD account) initial deposit
Seafarers employed by POEA-accredited shipping companies may open a BDO Kabayan Shipping Dollar Account where they can directly credit their allotment. Only $10 initial deposit, one (1) valid ID with picture, one (1) 1×1 ID picture and a valid seaman’s book are needed to open an account.
One (1) valid ID and One (1) 1X1 photo
With passbook and ATM debit card
Zero maintaining balance with at least one (1) remittance within two (2) years. Your BDO Kabayan Savings will automatically convert to a regular ATM savings with a maintaining balance requirement of Php2,000 when there is no remittance within two (2) years.
Remitters may qualify for free life and accident insurance. Click here to register.
Earn BDO Rewards points too from your savings and remittances! Know more.
REMITTANCE OFFICE LOCATIONS
In Asia, BDO Remit has a total six (6) remittance offices located in Hong Kong, Macau and Japan; three (3) representative offices in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea; and a full branch in Hong Kong. In the Middle East, BDO Remit has one (1) representative office in the United Arab Emirates and three (3) remittance offices in North America, two (2) of which are located in California, USA and one (1) in Toronto, Canada. In Europe, BDO Remit has presence in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, with a total of nine (9) remittance offices in the said countries.
More than BDO Remit’s role to transmit remittances from Filipinos overseas to their beneficiaries in the Philippines, the brand strives to uplift the market through innovative product and service offerings, value added product features, loyalty rewards, special events, as well as partnerships with various institutions for greater customer reach both locally and abroad.
Through BDO Remit, BDO was named the 2017 “Commercial Bank that Generated the Largest Overseas Filipino Remittances” at the 2018 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Stakeholders Awards. BDO Unibank has won the award from 2008 to 2010, and again from 2013 to 2016.”
About BDO Unibank, Inc.
BDO is a full-service universal bank which provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services. These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as treasury, trust and investments, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards, credit card services, and stock brokerage services.
BDO has one of the largest distribution networks, with more than 1,400 operating branches and over 4,400 ATMs nationwide. It also has full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as 20 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits, and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of September 30, 2019. For more information, please visit www.bdo.com.ph.