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eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

The future is digital. When the COVID-19 pandemic required strict quarantine guidelines, it was no surprise that business, financial, and even personal transactions went online. One needs only to look into how more Filipinos now regularly use their mobile phones and computers to shop, do their groceries, and even transact with their banks. Our government processes and services should follow suit.

Around September, 2020, I filed the Use of Digital Payments Act (SB 1764), which aims to promote the universal use of safe and efficient digital payment systems for financial transactions involving the government and the general public. It was only logical that more of our government agencies adopted online payments, given the directive for people to stay home or refrain from crowded spaces (including cue lines for paying one’s taxes at city hall). Anyway, more of our people were adopting services such as PayMaya or GCash, which in itself saw an150 percent uptick in registered users between mid-March and July last year.

However, as of November last year, the Department for the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that only 30% of local government units had taken measures to digitize their processes. Clearly, there is a need for the digital transformation of our bureaucracy and government processes to be backed up by law.

Building an e-government in the Philippines, however, faces significant challenges. For instance, in a September, 2020, study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), researchers pointed out that limited access to computers, lack of standardization, poor infrastructure, and other related issues are hindering the development and implementation of e-government services throughout the country.

That these issues persist helps explain why the Philippines had a middling, if not entirely poor, showing in the UN’s 2020 e-Government Survey. We ranked 77th out of 193 in the survey’s e-Government Development Index (EGDI) and 57th out of 193 in its e-Participation Index. With such rankings, though we find ourselves ahead of a few ASEAN countries, we are still behind some of our more developed neighbors, like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

One way for us to catch up in terms of e-government services is for our local government units (LGUs) to have a person specifically assigned to lead the digital transformation of government processes towards full-blown digital services. This is why I filed the Local Information and Communications Technology Officer Act (SB 1943). This measure calls for the mandatory appointment of an Information and Communications Technology Officer or ICTO in all provinces, cities, and municipalities.

ICTOs will manage the following—formulating and executing digitization plans for processes and public documents in their respective local government units (LGUs); develop, maintain, and supervise all other information and communications technology programs and services of the LGU (including partnerships with the private sector); and collate and disseminate information regarding ICT and the services of the local government to the public.

Aside from being Filipino citizens of good moral character, ICTOs will be required to have degrees from recognized colleges and universities, in information and communications technology, computer science, computer engineering, data science, electronics and communication engineering, or any other course that will be directly relevant to the job. Incoming ICTOs should also have three to five years of experience, depending on where they will be assigned.

Digital transformation, I believe, requires that we rebuild our organizational structures, work processes, and cultural mindsets. Digital services are not add-ons – rather, they are how our work processes are evolving to fit into the new world. Now is the best time to improve our digital framework for both our government and business sectors, as last year’s challenges have given us an opportunity to build anew.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Senator Sonny Angara

Quelle/Source: Manila Bulletin, 25.01.2021

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