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Boosting ICT Governance in the Philippines

Photo Credit: Department of Information and Communications Technology

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) executives met with a number of development partners in a forum recently to discuss the steps that will refine and strengthen ICT governance in the country.

According to a recent press release, the Department proposed ICT governance development measures to make initiatives under the Digital Philippines framework sustainable and institutionalised through partnerships and collaboration.

Boosting ICT Governance

The Digital Philippines is the umbrella program of the DICT on its various connectivity programs and policy reforms.

In his opening remarks, DICT Secretary Honasan addressed a group of around 50 embassy representatives and international institutions.

He explained that in order to forward their mandate to the Filipino people, which is to establish a Digital Philippines, it is only reasonable to involve civil societies, industry groups, international development partners and other stakeholders in empowering the society through ICT.

The Department identified some of its plans, which includes seeking collaboration with development partners on the areas of Digital Transformation Task Force deployment, capacity development, and technical assistance.

The strategy in creating a digital nation is banked on making every aspect of society digitally-enabled.

The Department wants the development partners to be engaged with this vision and get on board to make this a reality.

The partners, on their part, expressed support on the current plans of the government and are willing to extend assistance to the three-year old Department.

Implementing e-BPLS

In other news, the local government unit (LGU) of Northern Samar, Philippines is eyeing to implement the Electronic Business Permits and Licensing System (e-BPLS).

Implementing the e-BPLS is timely since the local government is in the process of updating their local revenue code.

Personnel from the DICT visited the town recently to evaluate their readiness for the implementation of the e-BPLS.

According to a Municipal Budget Officer from the town of Rosario, requirements, such as Letter of Intent and municipal council resolution, need to be submitted and evaluated.

If they pass, then they will be called for training.

e-BPLS explained

The e-BPLS is cloud-based software that will allow taxpayers to file for the renewal of, and the application for new, business permits online.

This is the Department’s program that aims to help people by providing ease of access to information.

Information includes the following:

  1. Retirement of businesses and business lines
  2. Computerised assessment of fees, taxes and charges
  3. Online printing of tax order of payment and business permit
  4. Endorsement module for the Office of the Building Official, and other local government concerned offices

Significance of e-BPLS

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Northern Samar Provincial Director Danny Laguitan explained that encouraging cities and towns to become business-friendly is a focus of the agency.

One strategy to promote the local government as business-friendly is by streamlining processing of business permits and licenses.

The DILG, along with the DICT, is pushing for local government to become economic managers.

Businesses will be encouraged to invest in a town if they find efficiency in applying for permits, particularly if it can be done online.

Currently, San Roque is the only town in Northern Samar that implements the e-BPLS.

The town is the second local government to implement the system in Eastern Visayas following San Juan, Southern Leyte.

DICT is also piloting the e-BPLS in the municipalities of Lavezares and Pambujan.

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