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PIA Press Release
2006/10/26

GSIS unveils ‘government office-in-a-kiosk’ in Camiguin

Mambajao, Camiguin (26 October) -- Imagine transacting with a government office in a manner so efficient you need not deal with the piles of paperwork, yet you get what you need in a matter of minutes.

Efficiency and speed in government may soon cease to be an exercise in fantasy following Government Service Insurance System’s (GSIS) unveiling of the G-W@PS Kiosk, an automated teller machine (ATM)-type of device that can replicate the most common transactions available in the state pension fund’s offices.

The G-W@PS (GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System) Kiosk may look diminutive—it is a 55-inch high box-type machine, with a 28-inch by 16-inch touch screen monitor—but this device packs a lot of punch. It can identify a GSIS member, display all of the member’s records, and even process loan applications of members without any documentary requirement.

The GW@PS was developed locally by the GSIS, combining some of the most advanced technologies in the world such as radio frequency identification (RFID), biometrics, general packet radio service (GPRS), short message sending (SMS) service, and virtual private network (VPN), among others.

GSIS may not be the first to use these technologies, but it is the first institution in the world to employ all these into one “secure end-to-end transaction prototype,” said GSIS President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia, the brains behind G-W@PS.

The end-to-end transaction replicated by the G-W@PS refers to the whole process a member transaction goes through with the GSIS, such as applying for a loan.

Before G-W@PS was introduced, a GSIS member applying for a loan needed to go to his servicing GSIS office and properly identify himself as a member. The member also had to bring with him an application form bearing the approval of his administrative officer.

The GSIS counter staff then checked the member’s qualifications for a loan before printing and asking the member to sign a tentative computation of proceeds. Only then will the application be processed and the cash proceeds remitted to the member’s bank account.

But with the G-W@PS Kiosk, the member only needs to go to a G-W@PS center and place his eCard Plus in front of the radio frequency card reader for it to recognize him as a GSIS member. The eCard Plus is embedded with a RFID microchip which the Kiosk can recognize.

The member then applies for a loan following the instructions displayed on the touch screen monitor until the G-W@PS shows a tentative computation of the member’s loan application.

The member is then asked to have his fingerprint scanned before his application is processed. This biometrics system replaces the need for signatures.

In the background, the G-W@PS summarizes the loan applications and sends it to the government agency where the member is employed. In a separate computer terminal, the agency’s authorized officer either approves or disapproves the loan applications.

Via Web, the authorized officer sends back the validated loan applications to the G-W@PS, which consequently processes approved loan applications. G-W@PS sends an electronic advisory to Union Bank to deposit the loan proceeds in the member’s eCard Plus’ ATM bank account.

The member even receives a text message that the money is already in his account, ready to be withdrawn in any of the 6,000 ATMs nationwide.

To display the G-W@PS mettle, GSIS launched the first G-W@PS Kiosk here in Camiguin, a Southern Philippines island province located more than a hundred kilometers from the nearest GSIS field office in Cagayan de Oro City.

In a matter of minutes, the GSIS member was able to apply for a loan in the G-W@PS Kiosk set up in the provincial capitol and got her money in an ATM a few blocks away.

Garcia said G-W@PS strings the multi-level connectivity among four independent users—the member, the GSIS, the government agency, and the bank to produce a secure system that processes transactions off-site in a 100-percent paperless environment.

“In a nutshell, all the transactions you see in the GSIS that involve hundreds, even thousands of people—from the GSIS counters up to the bank—are replicated utilizing a synergy of the RFID-enabled eCards, kiosks, and ATMs,” he said.

Camiguin Governor Pedro Romualdo hailed the G-W@PS Kiosk as the “best device for transactional convenience since the arrival of ATMs.”

“The G-W@PS practically put an end to the misery of 1,700 GSIS members in Camiguin who needed to travel at least four hours just to transact with the nearest GSIS office in Cagayan de Oro,” he said.

Romualdo said he expects the G-W@PS to draw up new norms of best practices for eGovernance not only in the Philippines, but also in the world.

Garcia said the GSIS intends to install 8,000 G-W@PS kiosk in offices all over the country within the next three years, beginning with the island provinces of the Philippines. About 1,000 of these will be rolled out next year along the new RFID-enabled GSIS eCard Plus.

“We are on the threshold of bringing that great digital gap. No member will be spared from the benefits of the G-W@PS,” he said.

Plans are also underway to enhance the G-W@PS for it to take in more complex GSIS transactions such as remittance of GSIS premiums and loan repayments and updating of member’s records.

“We will also overhaul the GSIS website into a G-W@PS web portal, allowing www.gsis.gov.ph to replicate the functionalities of the G-W@PS. Soon a member can use his personal computer, PDA, or cell phone to transact with the GSIS,” Mr. Garcia said.

More than “technological bragging rights,” the GSIS chief said the “real impact of the G-W@PS will come in the form of citizens who will not be deprived of service just because government employees need to travel by sea and by land for hours to transact with the GSIS.”

“The relevance of G-W@PS comes in the form of public school teachers who need not take leaves of absence and consequently miss classes, just to apply for a loan,” Garcia added. (GSIS) [top]

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