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Queen Maxima of the Netherlands visit to boost financial services for better financial health in the PH
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands visit to boost financial services for better financial health in the PH
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands visit to boost financial services for better financial health in the PH
by Karen Ow-Yong20 May 2024
H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is pictured visiting the Philippines in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) in 2015. She will travel to the country once again in her UNSGSA role May 21-23, 2024. Photo courtesy of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

MANILA – The Netherland’s H.M. Queen Maxima is set to visit the Philippines with a focus on advancing key foundational building blocks for financial inclusion – including connectivity, digital identification, and digital payments – as well as enhancing financial health and resilience against economic and climate-related challenges for Filipinos.

As the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Queen Maxima will conduct field visits in Manila and its surrounding areas to hear firsthand from financial services users about innovations that significantly impact their lives, especially those enhancing financial health.

Queen Máxima is expected to highlight recent developments in digital ID implementation and digital payments systems while engaging with public and private sector leaders to discuss support for their expansion.

“Digital ID can help people access safe and secure financial services such as digital payments. The visit will also highlight the need for more affordable financial services, crucial for the archipelago's many small islands”, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Manila revealed.


Currently, the Philippines’ version of a digital ID is the ePhilID issued by the PhilSys Registration Centers, which is accepted as a “valid and sufficient proof of identity and age, subject to authentication,” as mentioned in a public advisory by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on November 2, 2022.

Queen Maxima is also scheduled to visit a fisherfolk community to explore “last-mile financial solutions” that address the unique challenges present in remote island settings, UNIC added.

She is also reported to learn about a tech-enabled platform that empowers small retail shop owners or called “sari-sari” store in the Philippines, to grow their businesses, digitize their operations, and integrate into larger supply chains.

The agenda further includes high-level meetings for the UNSGSA with President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Ralph G. Recto, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Dr. Eli M. Remolona Jr. and other key policymakers and leaders, UNIC stated.


A focus group discussion with a diverse contingent of female financial users is also expected to provide insights into how financial products can effectively address the needs of women and enhance their financial health, UNIC added.

Included in the lineup of activities is also a demonstration of the Co-Develop’s South-East Asia Center for Digital Public Infrastructure at the Ateneo University.

Queen Maxima’s visit will be from May 21-23, 2024 and is supported by some of her Reference Group members or partners, such as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), Better than Cash Alliance, Consultative Group to the Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the World Bank.

Data from World Bank Global Findex Database shows “considerable progress” in financial access, with the proportion of adults owning a bank account rising from 26.6% in 2011 to 51.4% in 2021. However, despite these gains, the Philippines still has approximately 37.6 million unbanked adults.


The Findex data also highlights significant concerns about financial resilience among Filipinos. The primary financial worry for 42% of adults is covering medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident, followed by concerns over managing monthly expenses (24%) and securing funds for old age (17%). The urgency for improved financial health has been underscored by the pandemic, with 68% of adults very worried about facing severe financial hardship.

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