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Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has raised the need to prioritize digitalization of public service delivery as he renewed his call for the passage of the E-Governance Bill.

“We need e-governance to provide our people with the services they need from the comfort of their homes or workplaces,” he told the country’s economic managers during a briefing conducted by the Development Budget Coordination Council last week.

He reminded them of the instructions given by President Rodrigo Duterte to speed up the digitalization of the entire financial management operations.

“Not only shall it enable our bureaucracy to better transition into the ‘new normal,’ but it will also cut or minimize red tape and corruption,” Go explained.

He bared that Senate Bill (SB) 1738, or the “E-Governance Act of 2020,” mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and inter-operable information and resource-sharing and communications network.

“As we prepare for the new normal, the transition to e-governance becomes crucial, particularly the digitalizing of government processes,” the senator said. “We should adopt a more efficient, responsive and modern ways of transacting with our citizens. This will effectively make the government more in tune with the changing times.”

Go earlier said e-governance “will reduce red tape, eliminate corruption, enhance transparency, provide safe and convenient delivery of services to the people and encourage citizen feedback and participation.”

“As we move forward, we need to make long-lasting plans not only for our recovery, but also for our sustainable future,” he pointed out.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd gave assurances that the Department of Finance was “moving very quickly” to digitalize its processes.

Dominguez said the Finance department had been working with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. since October 2019 to ensure that the latter’s reporting systems would produce accurate data.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said P21.4 billion was allocated for next year’s Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative expenditures to harmonize the government’s information and communication technology (ICT) resources, programs and projects.

An additional P9.4 billion was allotted for the government’s daily operational ICT expenses, P1.9 billion for ICT support to finance inclusion, and P2.5 billion for other ICT expenses and the Philippine Identification System.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) aims to register five million low-income household heads by the end of the year.

Because of the pandemic, a pre-registration scheme involving house visits will be implemented to gather the information of nine million households starting October 12.

NEDA expects to register 40 million households into the system by 2021, while the remainder will be registered in 2022.

In August, Go reminded the PSA to ensure the smooth implementation of the national ID system to avert any more fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations in the delivery of essential government services.

“The national ID system is long overdue. The ongoing pandemic exposed many gaps in the delivery of various services. The discrepancy in data would have been minimized if we had the national ID system fully functional,” he said.

Go expressed confidence in the potential of new technologies and trends in data processing to improve the delivery of public services, enhance administrative governance and reduce corruption and bureaucratic red tape.

“We need to carefully balance our economic and health objectives. By ensuring that government services remain operational by maximizing available technologies, we can help Filipinos easily adapt to the new normal, help our economy recover and mitigate the health risks,” he said.

Go said PhilSys would be an integral component in realizing the full benefits of the digitalization of government processes or e-governance. He filed in July the E-Governance Act of 2020, which seeks to use ICT as a means to deliver government services and information to the public anytime, anywhere, and on any platform or device.

The bill seeks to establish the Integrated Government Network, a digital and electronic platform that will act as the primary means for sharing and communicating data, information and resources across all of the government.

It will also create various digital portals for the delivery of public services, an internal records management information system, and an information database.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Bernadette E. Tamayo

Quelle/Source: The Manila Times, 14.09.2020

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