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SM offers service as payment center
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Sun Star By Arianne Caryl N. Casas


THE SM management offered the bills payment facilities of SM Department Store as an alternative payment center for renewal and new application of health cards and other requirements of the City Health Office (CHO) of Davao.
 
The proposed scheme was passed on first reading under suspended rules during the regular session of the Davao City Council on Tuesday.
 
In a letter addressed to Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Councilor Louie Villafuerte, and CHO head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, Maria Theresa Alair, customer service manager and business center operation manager, expressed interest over the matter, observing that the CHO has a total base of 70,000 applicants.
 
"We further understand that as part of their ongoing obligations, customers will need to pay regular dues, as well as other fees. SM is proud to offer our payment facilities for the benefit of your organization," Alair said.
 
Once approved, bills payment will be accepted at SM Lanang Premier and SM City Davao with a service fee of P50, which shall be charged to either the CHO or passed on to consumers.
 
The program modification and installation fee amounts to P5,000, which shall be included in the first service fee billed to City Government of Davao.
 
Alair said the bill payment facilities of SM Department Store currently has a network of over 200 locations nationwide, covering all the major outlets of the SM Group of Companies, including the SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and SaveMore outlets.
 
It accepts and consolidates payments for various biller partners, including its arrangements to represent and assist government agencies in their collection efforts, according to Alair.
 
"We currently have in excess of 100 different biller partners, including but not limited to major utility companies, credit card companies and other biller partners," the letter read.
 
Aside from its nationwide coverage, Alair assured that its bill payment facilities will collect even during weekends and holidays.
 
"Our centers are open during these days and we are able to deposit into your organization’s accounts immediately on the next banking day," Alair said.
 
In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the regular session on Tuesday, Villafuerte said the item shall be taken to a committee hearing inviting all concerned parties to discuss the service fee and other requirements.
 
"Hisgutan pa nato na. Tan-awon nato kung asa mas convenient ang tao," he said.
 
He said the City Government pays rental fees for using the Davao City Recreation Center, where the transaction of the CHO for renewal/new application of health cards is ongoing.
 
The councilor said the SM management has expressed interest since November 2011 and submitted its letter of intent on May 5.

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