Queen Máxima in Philippines to promote financial inclusion

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Queen Máxima in Philippines to promote financial inclusion
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the UN secretary general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, listens to Aubrey Udag during a visit to her sari-sari store in Cainta, Rizal yesterday. The Dutch royal is in the Philippines to promote financial inclusion, especially among traditionally underserved groups like the poor, women, smallholder farmers and small businesses.

MANILA, Philippines — Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), is in the Philippines for three days to promote financial inclusion, especially among “traditionally underserved groups,” like the poor, women, smallholder farmers and small businesses.

On the first day of her three-day trip, Queen Máxima visited Talim Island, a remote island under the jurisdictions of the municipalities of Binangonan and Cardona in Rizal and whose residents have faced significant barriers to accessing financial services.

In a bid to mitigate this problem, a microfinance-oriented rural bank, CARD MRI Rizal Bank (CARD-RBI), has provided a wide range of financial services, including payments, savings, credit and insurance to the remote community.

CARD RBI has also introduced the innovative use of the mobile application konek2CARD, which has been instrumental in delivering financial service to Talim Island.

During the trip, the Queen talked to members of the fisherfolk community to see how the services of CARD-RBI have been a transformative impact in making financial services more accessible.

At a media briefing after the trip, she said that her favorite part was learning about the improvements in Talim Island that made financial services more accessible to its residents.

“We had a wonderful visit. The (fishermen) were explaining to me how important credit has been for them because it actually allowed them to grow and invest even more and expand on their income,” she told reporters.

“But very importantly, they were telling me about five types of insurance that they actually have. One of them is hospitalization insurance. One of the biggest worries for Filipinos is medical expenses. So this was a very big leap for a lot of people,” she added.

Additionally, among the biggest improvements that Queen Máxima saw in Talim Island is the use of the mobile application konek2CARD.

“They were telling me, of course, what a big difference it is that they live on an island. Now, you can (access financial service) from your phone. Otherwise, you have to pay $3 to go back and forth, and the three hours to make a payment. Now, you can do it from your home,” she said.

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