A joint venture agreement was recently signed in order to deliver the next generation smart water and waste water facilities for New Clark City.
According to a recent report, the Philippines’ Bases Conversion and Development Authority signed with the consortium of Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation, Prime Assets Ventures, Inc., (PAVI), MGS Construction, Inc., and Israel’s TAHAL Group, a global provider of sustainable infrastructure, for the project.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) acted as transaction advisor to BCDA on the project.
According to BCDA President and CEO, it is by offering state-of-the-art water and wastewater services at competitive rates that they are able to stay true to their promise for New Clark City to become the country’s most’ attractive destination for residences and business.
The Banks is pleased to deliver a successful outcome for the government-owned and controlled corporation and support the development of the greenest and smartest city in the Philippines.
The joint venture agreement establishes an innovative framework that equitably balances risks and returns.
Moreover, it offers one of the lowest tariffs across the country while ensuring the availability of next generation smart water and wastewater services.
It was on 12 November 2018 when the consortium submitted a bid of US$ 0.18 (PHP 9.45) per cubic metre to win the tender. The proposed per cubic metre rate shall apply for the water supply only.
The same amount will be charged for wastewater services, resulting in a total tariff of US$ 0.36 (PHP 18.90) per cubic metre for both services over the first five years of the 30-year joint venture period.
The winning bid for New Clark City is viewed as highly competitive as compared against rates for cities in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia as well as globally.
It is expected to attract leading businesses and investors to the city.
The New Clark City, which is located within the Clark Special Economic Zone, is envisioned to become the country’s first smart, green, and sustainable metropolis.
Covering 60 hectares, Phase 1A involves the construction of the National Government Administrative Centre.
This will also include a world-class sports complex that will be used when the Philippines hosts the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
Since June 2017, the international bank has been providing advisory services to the company.
Multiple sectors within the New Clark City such as water, power, gas distribution, and IT infrastructure are included in the services.
Furthermore, the advisory services of the Bank are, in turn, supported by the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund.
It is a multi-donor fund aimed at reducing risks to the urban poor from climate change and natural disasters, through strategic planning of resilient infrastructure.
As reported earlier, the Philippines and Japan have partnered for the development of New Clark City. A recent Philippine-Japan Seminar aimed at encouraging new Philippine and Japanese business partnerships and introducing smart city solutions in developing the smart city.
To strengthen the nation’s local industries and reduce its reliance on imports, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. invited enterprises to engage in digitalising processes as well as other crucial areas including education, skills training, and research and development.
The president of the Philippines stated that imported goods continue to be the main cause of inflation and that import substitution must be considered. For its part, the Philippine government is dedicated to accelerating economic growth with the broader objectives of reducing poverty and reviving job creation.
Notably, the government works to hasten the nation’s economic expansion by reducing travel and movement restrictions, even more, enacting economic reforms, and fostering stronger economic ties with trading and investment partners.
The President also emphasised the efforts being made by the government to increase the ease of doing business, public-private partnerships, and bureaucratic efficiency through the development and digitalisation of information and communication technology (ICT).
The Chief Executive said that the Philippine economy is on pace to sustain its good economic performance and meet the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent for this year as it continues to recover from the pandemic’s negative effects. Inflation must be controlled, the country’s growth rate appears robust, the peso is strengthening slightly in comparison to other currencies, and the unemployment rate is reasonable given the circumstances.
The Chief Executive anticipates that the meeting will aid in creating new economic prospects, reviving the industries that have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as addressing upcoming difficulties.
Meanwhile, one of the first Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) entities established and constituted under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB), recently had their meeting.
The primary role of the IFPB is to address revenue imbalances and variations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) financial demands and income-raising capability. The body will specifically suggest tax-collecting strategies and changes to fiscal policy for the BARMM.
THE IGFP discussed 17 issues on the agenda, including the BARMM’s tax system’s digitalisation. Assuring solid financial management and improved bureaucratic efficiency through digital transformation is in line with the administration’s 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda.
To further this objective, IFPB pledges to build and uphold positive and constructive relationships to meet BARMM’s financial demands and strengthen the region’s potential for revenue-raising. In addition to the IFPB, the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), which is made up of officials from the national and Bangsamoro administrations, had its 12th meeting and press conference to talk about issues pertaining to the local development of the BARMM.
In response to the difficulties posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has reaffirmed its strong commitment to keep developing its programmes and services.
To adapt and alter its programmes to the increasing needs of the industries, TESDA is constantly trying to improve its systems and procedures. And this is where their partner industries step in, assisting them in creating training programmes that will equip graduates with skills relevant to their business.
The organisation emphasised how quickly technology is advancing in the workplace. Since tech-VOC training encompasses the study of technologies and allied sciences as well as the learning of practical skills, Industry 4.0 has a direct impact on this field. To create a workforce with competencies appropriate for the industry, the agency urged people in the education and business sectors to collaborate closely.
For inbound travellers’ arrival details and health declaration checklist, eTravel is a new contact tracking platform that replaces the One Health Pass and e-Arrival card in the Philippines. E-travel can now be accessed at the official website.
The new system is easy to use as travellers coming in can sign up with their personal profiles, travel information, and health declarations. When finishing this step, the user will get a QR code that is unique to them. This service is free, but people need to sign up at least 3 days before they arrive in the Philippines.
E-travel is developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and is a joint initiative with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The interconnection, data-sharing, and synergy of all the many departments that are divided into several silos will now be combined into a single system that will be looking at a single point in time, according to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy. Hence, it will make it easier for the people to interact with the government at the same time.
Meanwhile, to promote a unified government approach to E-Governance, the DICT’s Office of the Undersecretary for E-Government (OUEG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with partner government entities.
The Landbank of the Philippines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Service Insurance System, the Social Security System, and the Mindanao Development Authority are all partners in this endeavour.
Through its efforts to digitally change government processes and government agencies, the DICT hopes to improve data standards and data governance, allowing for data harmonisation and coordination throughout the government.
The effort includes the creation, deployment, and integration of systems for Department flagship programmes such E-Local Government Units (ELGU), E-Government Applications (EGovApp), E-Govpay, E-Travel, and E-Cloud.
The MoU establishes the partner agencies as key players in the pursuit of digital transformation and e-governance. Since DICT considers harmony to be the foundation of clarity. Therefore, the goals of these initiatives are twofold: to construct a government that is enabled by ICT and to capacitate its development.
Furthermore, through the Career Certificates Scholarship Programme, a multinational technology business will provide free professional training to Filipinos. This programme is presently being provided by the DICT through the ICT Literacy and Competency Development Bureau (ILCDB).
With the help of this career certificates programme, appropriate skill development and tooling are now easier to obtain. By closing the digital divide and widening chances for Filipinos, the DICT seeks to expand ICT opportunities.
The agency urges Filipinos to apply for the scholarship and benefit from the free professional training created by one of the biggest software companies in the world.
The course can award credentials in IT support, project management, user experience (UX) design, and data analytics. Through this programme, Filipinos can gain new skills and connect with top employers while preparing for a new career in the rapidly expanding ICT industry.
The process is also practical for online education. Participants must be at least 18 years old, residents of and citizens of the Philippines, and capable of finishing the online course using their own device or gadget to be eligible to apply for the scholarship.
Communication remains the backbone of organisational operations and has been bolstered by cutting-edge technology. Many organisations have migrated from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PTSNs) to cloud communications, which resulted in faster and more efficient communications with vastly increased reach.
Cloud communications remain the primary solution for meeting the growing demand for effective organisational communications in the hybrid workplace. It is agile enough to adapt to ever-changing business environments while keeping mission-critical business functions unified on all levels.
Organisations can place and receive phone calls using cloud calling from phones and any internet-connected device, including computers and tablets, from any location with an internet connection.
Cloud communications’ inherent capacity enables organisations to expand as needed without regard to geographical boundaries quickly. It makes it simple for organisations to scale up to accommodate changing needs. Less capital expenditure means expansion can be undertaken and completed more quickly, resulting in increased
These possibilities make businesses more accessible and responsive to customers. Having scalability and flexibility in communications regardless is a vast advantage irrespective of a company’s geographical spread.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with the Philippines’ top public sector leaders on 6 December 2022 at the Dusit Thani Manila provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud communications technology that can greatly empower the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
Intensifying the Cloud’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation
The adoption and implementation of cloud-based strategies are currently used by businesses of all sizes to boost growth and profits, says Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia. Moreover, cloud technology has drastically changed how businesses communicate.
Cloud technology is bringing massive change to how various sectors of modern-day digital communities interact with each other. Cloud communications vendors allow businesses to delegate management of their IT infrastructure by taking on provisioning, switching, data storage and security responsibilities. The cloud’s cutting-edge features and functionality facilitate unprecedented staff collaboration and communication across time and space.
These changes have transformed the way people work where employees experience increased levels of productivity. With the cloud, people have the option to follow the traditional work model, a hybrid one, or a purely remote work model. Such possibilities for workers also translate to added advantages for employers with geographical boundaries; hiring only locally has become passé.
A hybrid or remote work setting makes cloud communications a necessity. Collaborative technology like cloud communications allows employees to transition or shift from one work model to another without losing productivity, effectiveness or efficiency. However, Mohit cautions, remote and hybrid models can still fail if they are not built on the right technology.
As shared by one of the attendees, their company did not experience any downturn when the pandemic hit because they were prepared for remote work. The experience of this company highlights that preparedness with the right technology enables an organisation to weather a black swan event.
Having workers functional in various locations amid an unexpected situation will prevent work disruptions. Moreover, a company gets empowered to collaborate with other groups and individuals regardless of their geographical location. Globalisation is further strengthened with cloud communications technology.
Cloud communications allow businesses to maximise resources by facilitating rapid deployment, enhanced adaptability and unlimited high-volume data sharing. Additionally, the safety measures built into cloud communication ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
Cloud security refers to the set of tools, protocols, and best practices used to keep cloud-based servers, apps and data safe. The first step in protecting cloud services is gaining an awareness of what must be protected and what parts of the system must be managed.
The development of the backend to guard against security flaws is the responsibility of cloud service providers, in general. Customers’ primary focus should be on establishing a secure service configuration, developing secure routines for using the service, and choosing a service provider who takes security seriously.
“Nonetheless, clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit advises.
Cloud security goals include protecting against malicious data theft on networks and storage, preventing data leaks caused by human error or carelessness, facilitating data recovery in the event of data loss, and limiting the impact of any data or system compromise.
Since the advent of cloud computing, conventional methods of protecting digital assets have undergone extensive development. Although cloud models improve efficiency, constant online access requires innovative safety safeguards. Compared to traditional IT models, a few key features set cloud security apart as a cutting-edge cyber protection option.
There have been major shifts in the macro business environment, says Nathan Guy, Zoom’s Phone Leader for Asia Pacific. There is a lot of pressure on businesses to improve productivity, to be flexible in the face of intensifying competition, and to be more productive to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological innovation and advancement.
With the global economy in shambles, the urgency has only increased. It will be impossible to solve these problems if customers, prospects and employees cannot communicate effectively.
Nathan pointed out that a generational shift is also occurring in the labour force. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular. They have also requested state-of-the-art tools and communication infrastructure to carry out their duties better.
When a new app or device is released, it adds another layer of complexity to a complicated process. Stakeholders, including employees, clients, and potential customers, have individual preferences and expectations regarding the manner, frequency, and location of business interactions.
Therefore, according to Nathan, many companies are selective in the ways they invest in improving internal communication.
They might do this in several ways, including staying up to date with systems already in use that is judged to be adequate, using built-in communication tools that are part of other software packages or investigating a variety of potential solutions. These plans aim to improve the company’s ability to spread the word.
Although these approaches provide more leeway, they also alter the dynamics between businesses and their prospective clients, employees and customers. Depending on their predicament, people are forced to switch between several potential answers.
In the event of a communication breakdown, the firm will inevitably fail. An essential trait of effective leaders is the capacity to chart a course for their people, providing a sense of purpose and direction even when difficult situations arise.
In Nathan’s opinion, organisations need to expand their communication strategies beyond the bare minimum and into the global scope. An enormous advantage in today’s unstable business climate will go to the company that can always make seamless connections to all stakeholders, regardless of location, device, or business activity.
To achieve this, as Nathan puts it, “You deliver a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation.”
By taking these measures, businesses may be able to better respond to their customers’ wants and needs, free up internal resources that were previously spent on communications management and expand their capabilities and agility.
The credibility of a company rises or falls with its communication strategies. Since employees, clients, and customers can do their jobs from anywhere, the channels through which the message is sent must be fit for the times, the resources, and the ever-changing need of organisations.
The failure of a session owing to dropped participants or bad audio and video is now considered unacceptable. Businesses must adapt to a more complex hybrid environment and ensure that all clients, regardless of location or condition, receive the same high level of service.
Nathan recognises that “business transactions become impossible” when communications are disrupted in today’s world. In solving communications needs amid disruptive situations, an unpredictable risk that has the potential to impede productivity for businesses also gets removed. The result is a continuance of operations and avoidance of deterioration or decline of productivity.
Zoom will shield businesses from communications breakdowns because its top-notch infrastructure was explicitly designed to prevent failures. Examining the root cause of problems is essential in giving lasting and effective solutions. In the case of communications strategy and technology for organisations, addressing various approaches made by organisations and guiding them to dig up the root cause will allow them to focus on the now without overly worrying about the future.
However, some users may be unable to fully participate due to severe audio and video quality degradation due to differences in network performance and bandwidth. This is a reality in the Philippines, where many areas still lack fast internet speed.
Zoom allows businesses to host effective meetings even in the face of significant packet loss. If you’re doing business on a global scale, having this kind of consistent network and infrastructure in every country is a must.
The complexity of communications is increasing. Now, besides travelling or working from home, “you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting,” acknowledges Nathan.
During the pandemic, people are often left trying to balance ad hoc, piecemeal solutions developed as the crisis unfolded. As a result, three significant environments have emerged: at-home/in-the-office and on the go. A personal mobile phone, a videoconferencing method for in-person gatherings of a few people, and something else for more momentous occasions all fall under this category.
Nathan believes that both staff and customers will need to adjust to a new user interface. “Communication platforms are undeniably crucial to the success of hybrid teams.” A cutting-edge communications platform like Zoom could help increase output, expand possibilities, and reveal levels of employee engagement.
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Dr Jennalyn Raviz, Director, Management Information Service, Department of Transportation, when it comes to promoting, developing, and regulating a dependable and coordinated network of transportation and communications systems, the Department of Transportation (DoT) is the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity within the executive branch of the Philippines. “Transport by air, sea, rail, and highway are all included.”
Since multiple parties are involved and a hybrid structure has been established, maintaining consistency may prove difficult.
“The pandemic has become a motivator for us, and we seek secure communication across many platforms, which is why we use cloud communication,” says Dr Jennalyn.
Despite some reservations, cloud communications are the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications in today’s hybrid workplaces. With cloud computing and communications, businesses can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
Cloud computing allows workers to do their jobs from any Internet-connected device; it has the dual benefits of increased productivity and expanding the geographical scope of their operations.
Since the cloud facilitates remote work, organisations will gradually reduce their reliance on outsourcing. As a result of the use of the cloud’s effect of reducing in-office and staff expenses, businesses are now able to hire more full-time workers across the globe.
Dr Jennalyn highlighted that getting cloud is cost-effective. Additionally, cloud computing can be particularly cost-effective for organisations due to the improvement in workforce efficiency in addition to direct labour savings. “Cloud software deployment is far quicker than a traditional installation.”
Because of this, more employment possibilities can be made available to people in the area who possess the necessary skills. As the popularity of self-sufficiency rises, organisations can select from a greater pool of eligible candidates for a wider variety of positions.
More efficient teamwork is one of the main advantages of cloud computing. The advent of the cloud has had a profound effect on teamwork, and this transformation will continue so long as the cloud undergoes progress and improvement.
Improved communications, cheaper technology, and the ability for smaller organisations to cooperate with worldwide partners and expand their reach in the global arena are all possible because of the cloud’s ability to provide capabilities that were previously only available to major companies.
Dr Jennalyn believes that to have the greatest possible effect, digital transformation must occur in tandem with a thoughtful cultural shift.
As most businesses are already utilising cloud computing in some form, Nathan emphasised the importance of cloud security. While cloud storage has many advantages, “organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns.”
Collaborating with Zoom could streamline human connection while also adding safety measures. Businesses can benefit from workers’ improved routines and skill sets over the past two years. They also guarantee uniformity in a wide variety of applications.
“The key to progress is providing the appropriate value in each solution,” Nathan asserts.
Businesses can stay competitive through Zoom’s partnership with rapid innovation, Zoom allows clients to have access to a continuous stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements.
Mohit stressed the importance of communication in fostering collaboration. He concurred with an attendee that when their partners offer a secure platform for cloud communications, organisations become more powerful. Mohit believes that rather than just being providers, vendors are also the transformation partners of every organisation.
An important aspect of cloud security, in Mohit’s opinion, is making sure sensitive information like customer orders, confidential design documents and financial records are safe. Maintaining customer confidence and protecting strategic assets necessitates a solid data security programme. “Cloud security’s ability to safeguard data and assets makes it essential for businesses moving to the cloud.”
Through collaboration with development partners, businesses can better serve a diverse set of customers and expand their customer base. Therefore, it is important to incorporate platform or integration capabilities and a partner strategy when creating cloud-based applications.
It is important to consider business potential, engineering prowess, and platform marketing when formulating a strategy for your cloud partners. Mohit concludes that a well-rounded approach will allow for an expansion of the partner ecosystem, the delivery of more comprehensive customer solutions, and higher earnings potential.
With the introduction of its Kooha Version 2.0 during the recently held 2022 National Science and Technology Week celebration, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) showered photo enthusiasts with helpful tips on interactive smartphone photography.
Kooha is a photo-sharing app derived from the Filipino word “kuha,” which means “to take.” It capitalises on the Philippines’ status as “the selfie capital of the world,” with thousands of photographs shared on various social media platforms every day.
With the help of the camera app Kooha, users may take pictures that go beyond simple snapshots. Multiple sensors are embedded into mobile devices; Kooha uses these sensor data while users snap pictures and embeds them in the image.
Users will be able to quickly learn the location where the photo was shot, the background noise when they shoot a selfie, the network provider’s signal strength, the device battery level, camera settings, environment sensor data, motion sensor, and more. All the photographs captured by the app are shared on Kooha Community. Users’ photos become more than just images when they post them to the community; they become contributions.
When the sensor data from the images is combined with the large pool of sensor data from other users, the data becomes societally important. The data can assist data scientists in generating insights and fresh knowledge that can be used by decision-makers across the country. Kooha is a free app that can be downloaded from Google Play.
According to the DOST-ASTI, Kooha uses the built-in sensors of a mobile device to gather real-time data like sound level, temperature, and humidity and embeds it into a snapshot, making it particularly valuable in research operations across industries thanks to the fresh knowledge it produces.
It added that even more useful Kooha features include the ability to contribute images to the community section, rate shared photos based on “awards” from other users, map the locations of pinned photos, and unlock “badges” by completing specific “achievements.”
As a useful tool application, Kooha reflects the reality that science and the arts may collaborate effectively to produce meaningful results. In addition, the DOST- ASTI’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recertified in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Director of DOST-ASTI Franz A. de Leon stated that the ISO recertification demonstrates the DOST-ASTI’s dedication to continuously enhance its operations and assure successful service delivery – bringing science and technology closer to the people.
He added that their partners and stakeholders can be confident that the institute will constantly offer high-quality products and services because they adhere to the quality policy of developing relevant, timely, and impactful ICT- and electronics-based innovations.
The ISO certificate was the result of the DOST-ASTI management and staff’s collaborative efforts to expand its technologies and ensure the smooth execution of its mandate and functions. Reviewing and improving processes is critical to achieving the agency’s purpose of contributing to the achievement of national development priorities and the growth of Philippine firms through the provision of creative solutions centred on ICT and electronics technology.
This is DOST-ASTI’s second recertification since transitioning to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in 2018. Subject to regular surveillance assessments, the certificate is valid until November 2025.
The Philippines was selected as one of the pilot nations to be connected to the Arterial Research and Educational Network in the Asia Pacific (ARENA-PAC) through its national research and education network (NREN).
The Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network (PREGINET) will be linked to a global NREN hub in Guam as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr of the Department of Science and Technology Institute (DOST) and Prof Jun Murai of Keio University.
Prof Murai, known as the Internet Samurai and widely regarded as the inventor of the internet in Japan, has played a key role in establishing network testbeds across the Asia Pacific to support innovation and cutting-edge technologies on the global internet.
ARENA-PAC is a backbone network that currently connects Tokyo, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore to a hub in Guam via several 100Gbps circuits. Future membership is anticipated to increase.
The next phase of ARENA-PAC’s advancement of science and technology, which will benefit not only the Asia Pacific region but also the world’s research and educational communities, will begin with this new process for high-speed additional internet connectivity in collaboration with DOST-ASTI.
These kinds of cooperation, according to DOST Secretary Renato, are crucial for the nation, particularly in the field of research and development, where cooperation with other nations in the Asia-Pacific region is crucial.
The fact that this collaboration with the Japanese counterparts is a direct result of the DOST-long-standing ASTI’s relationship with them makes it particularly significant. “Because any cooperation activities will be based on trust and a positive working relationship, it is crucial that we nurture our relationships with our collaborators,” says DOST Secretary Renato.
The precursor to the collection of science infrastructures that ASTI maintains, PREGINET has been igniting research and educational activities across the nation.
Numerous research projects have been conducted in the fields and applications of disaster risk reduction management, bioinformatics, health, and distance learning thanks to these scientific infrastructures. The ARENA-PAC offers members and partners of PREGINET the chance to maximise research opportunities and create successful partnerships within the networked world.
Meanwhile, a new version of the BIR Digital Assistant – Chatbot REVIE is now available and includes TIN Verification/Validation, RDO Finder, and an eComplaint facility, according to the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The eComplaint, on the other hand, is a service that enables taxpayers to file complaints against businesses for failing to issue receipts or invoices, engaging in tax evasion, and other violations of the Tax Code.
The eComplaint facility can also be used to file complaints against incompetent BIR employees or officials.
Revie, the BIR’s digital assistant, was introduced in June 2021 to address general inquiries from taxpayers as well as frequently asked questions about registration, BIR Forms, the zonal value of properties, and BIR eServices.
The BIR website’s home page provides 24/7 access to this artificial intelligence. If a taxpayer using the service needs more clarification on Revie’s responses, they can also chat with a live agent.
The enhancement of Chatbot “Revie” is part of the BIR’s Digital Transformation (DX) Programme, which aims to improve taxpayers’ experiences when transacting with the BIR by providing additional channels through which they can raise questions and concerns about their tax compliance obligations.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is used in a smart city to improve government efficiency, public engagement and the standard of living for its residents.
Advanced technologies and data analytics are at the heart of the concept of a “smart city,” whose primary goals are the enhancement of city services, the promotion of economic growth, and the betterment of residents’ quality of life.
The recent pandemic and other critical events have forced the citizens of the Philippines, as it has in other countries, to rely on their government for a wide range of services to be offered innovatively.
Agencies moved rapidly to digitalise services and set standards for data storage, security and workflow. Central and local governments have implemented a wide range of ICT strategies to lessen the impact of these catastrophes.
For instance, Makati City, the business capital of the Philippines, launched the Makatizen Card and the Makatizen App to offer financial help and services, such as online legal assistance, teleconsultations, and online learning, to its residents.
Challenges Turn Inspiration: Embarking on Smart City Projects
“We will be able to increase our revenue and service efficiency through innovation,” Charles asserts, citing the recently launched “MakaTurismo” website to underscore his point, which was made to help the local tourism sector.
The website is Metro Manila’s first travel website focused on attracting tourists into a post-pandemic environment. Apart from the lifestyle centres, eateries, and hotels, the City of Makati is home to numerous undiscovered treasures, such as special historical sites.
Since it includes details about the city’s tourist attractions, lodging options and free walking tours, the project could significantly assist businesses in attracting clients and customers.
While discussions of digital transformation typically centre on improvements to remote working capabilities, Makati City has instead begun investing in infrastructure upgrades. As a result, they are modernising their server infrastructure by switching from a physical to a software-defined network (SDN) and merging various data centres.
Charles noted that Makati City is concerned with project implementation and database consolidation. In addition, they integrate analytics into all projects and increase automation to improve their functional services.
Makati City opened the Makatizen Hub in 2021, to further assist its citizens in their transactions during the ongoing pandemic. The local government has set up satellite offices so that everything can be done online.
Charles emphasises that, as they integrate technology in a variety of ways, they are centralising a strategic approach to planning and managing the direction of the city government’s use of technology.
To accommodate its diverse population, Makati provides a wide range of publicly available services. In addition, there are services designed exclusively for residents, catering to their unique requirements based on factors such as age, health, education and overall satisfaction with life.
The city has been able to successfully manage these programmes, but officials are always looking for ways to improve efficiency. This is made possible in large part by technological advancements. As the population of Makati expands, so do the city’s needs and the hopes and dreams of its residents.
The responsibility of the administration lies in anticipating the wants and needs of the people. By bolstering them with cutting-edge tech, agencies can reimagine service delivery and foresee what people will need in the future.
As an example of a programme designed for the future but implemented today, the Makatizen Card is a useful tool. The Makatizen Card is an innovative programme that provides residents of Makati with access to a variety of new social, informational, identifying and financial services.
For more than half a million people living in Makati, this single government-issued ID card unifies access to a wide range of economic and social services.
Charles is one of the authors of IT Security – the Security 3.0 book, published by Mithra Publishing in London. It discusses the infrastructure framework’s fundamentals that underpin the city’s primary data centre and the local government information system that has recently undergone upgrades.
“The data centre’s IT capabilities can only be improved through upgrades. By upgrading ageing or inefficient IT assets, they improve reliability, performance, efficiency, cost, security, and uptime -which resulted in serving the public efficiently,” Charles explains, further elaborating on the steps taken by the municipal government to improve flood and earthquake early warning systems.
Makati was named the first-ever Resilience Hub in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian Region by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in the third quarter of this year.
According to the UNDRR, a resilience hub is a city, municipality, or local authority with the political will and expertise to take action to reduce vulnerability to disasters and climate change. With the help of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign (MCR), which Makati joined in 2010, the city has successfully integrated disaster risk reduction into all its strategic plans and programmes. The region’s cities have joined several international networks to learn from and implement its DRR best practices.
Additionally, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI), Digital Pilipinas officially launched its Innovative Cities initiative to technologically advance one city at a time. It does this by bringing together local government agencies, academic institutions and the private sector to establish numerous centres of excellence.
In association with the Resiliency Innovation Sustainability & Entrepreneurship (RISE) Certification Programme, the City of Makati was selected as the programme’s pilot location. With a focus on making the Philippines relevant in digitalisation and Web 3.0 conversation, the Innovative Cities initiative seeks to increase the Philippines’ innovation and technology quotient to support local economies and expand their industries.
The city’s digital transformation journey in local government has been completed at minimal or no cost. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been used to implement larger-scale projects and some solutions have been provided for free in exchange for Makati serving as a model for the adoption of these technologies by other LGUs and institutions. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Makati was still able to serve its citizens efficiently without endangering their health.
A true and effective digitalisation strategy entails a fundamental rethinking of the traditional organisational structures of industrial activities and business models to make them significantly better.
With the help of Makati Mayor Abby Binay, who is very encouraging of digital transformation, these initiatives were able to come to fruition. Charles believes that the use of technology and innovations is merely a tool to accomplish this goal, so it’s critical to pick the approaches that can most effectively help an application achieve its objectives.
“Digital transformation is, at its core, a mindset. It is a long-term, ongoing journey rather than a single undertaking or endpoint. As the business changes and appropriate technologies become available, iteration is necessary.”
To produce a consolidated database system for 3D visualisation and analysis of surface and subsurface information, the 3D Philippines Information System was created and led by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) and the De La Salle University (DLSU).
This initiative is monitored by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
An output of the 3D Philippines Programme, the 3D Philippines Information System is a web-based application that was created as a platform to offer researchers from national government agencies, local government units, and other sectors a centralised database system for storing, accessing and facilitating hazards and risk assessment of surface and subsurface information. The 3D Philippines fully supports the government’s drive for digital transformation to simplify operations and integrate, among other things, risk and hazard assessments.
One of the goals of 3D Philippines, according to Dr Teresito C. Bacolcol, PHIVOLCS Officer-in-Charge, is to incorporate borehole information into the GeoRiskPH Platform so that researchers can view subsurface information and subsequently assess subsurface conditions for geotechnical designs. “Our engineers would benefit greatly from the three-dimensional image we obtain with the borehole information integrated into the system.”
The System supports GeoRiskPH in managing and analysing scientific data to support programmes for research, planning, and disaster risk reduction. The goal of PHIVOLCS is to create a 3D workspace where scientists, engineers, and planners may work together. The organisation is hopeful that they will be able to develop a system that allows users to move things in a virtual reality environment and has envisioned putting this 3D facility nearby.
Publicly accessible platforms like HazardHunterPH and GeoAnalyticsPH will make 3D visualisation available to the general population. To let concerned stakeholders know that information on boreholes is available, the platforms will also indicate the general location of boreholes at different zoom levels.
More than 100 participants from the National Housing Authority (NHA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), and local government entities are expected to benefit from the training session.
Meanwhile, the people, communities, and local governments should not be complacent about the potential hazards and repercussions of tsunamis in their territories, according to officials and experts from the DOST-PHIVOLCS.
Diverse tsunami-prone localities have been receiving services from DOST-PHIVOLCS. To ensure that all LGUs are prepared to develop an appropriate and coordinated response action plan for the residents, it also entails monitoring, cascading pertinent information and warnings down to the local and barangay areas in various platforms and possible ways, and risk assessment.
The public, LGU officials, and responders can browse technology-based and mobile applications like Hazard Hunter, REDAS, and GeoRiskPH, which will eventually help them not only on the monitoring side but also to have a better understanding of various possible tsunami risks and hazards in particular areas.
The DOST-PHIVOLCS websites and social media profiles are among the channels that the agency has stressed as being useful in assisting every LGU in making better decisions. Since the Philippines is an archipelago and earthquakes frequently occur, it is crucial to have the proper knowledge regarding tsunamis and to be prepared for them.
The local government units in the nation are urged by DOST-PHIVOLCS to build and improve their tsunami warning systems and evacuation strategies to safeguard every Filipino, particularly those who live in coastal areas.