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EXCLUSIVE – Enabling Digital Transformation within the Philippine Government: Report on the Philippine OpenGov Leadership Forum 2018

EXCLUSIVE - Enabling Digital Transformation within the Philippine Government: Report on the Philippine OpenGov Leadership Forum 2018

OpenGov Leadership Forum seeks to provide an opportunity for government
officials, industry experts and distinguished international speakers to come
together to exchange ideas and learn about the latest developments in the
public sector technology landscape.

19 April, over 250 government officials and senior technology executives from
across the Philippine Government came together to discuss the opportunities and
challenges of digital transformation.

Mr Mohit Sagar

Mr Mohit Sagar, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov kicked off the Forum talking about the imperative of digital transformation in the public sector. He highlighted that digital transformation is more than just the technology – it is about understanding citizens’ needs and driving desirable outcomes.  


Mr Carlos Mayorico E. Caliwara, Assistant
Secretary for Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection, Department of Information
and Communications Technology (DICT) of the Philippines then gave his keynote
presentation on DICT’s efforts and journey to transform the nation through Information and Communications
Technology (ICT).

Philippines is a country with growing digital capabilities and adoption.
According to Mr Caliwara, the country’s objective is to be “an innovative, safe and happy nation that thrives
through and is enabled by ICT”.

In its drive towards an open,
digital government in the Philippines, DICT is enhancing cybersecurity,
improving connectivity, strengthening human capital, while stimulating the
market and ensuring ease of doing business.

In his presentation, Mr Caliwara
discussed some of the DICT initiatives, including: (1) the National Broadband
Plan (NBP) which aims to accelerate the
deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve Internet
speed, (2) the National
Government Portal (NGP) to provide easier access to government services, and (3)
the Pipol Konek project which provides free Wi-Fi access in public places to
promote digital literacy.

NBP aims to have Open, Pervasive,
Inclusive, Affordable and Trusted Internet Access across Philippines. In line
with this vision, the Government is setting policy, regulatory, and
infostructural interventions to spur competition in the telecommunications and
ICT industry.

In November 2017, DICT and the Bases
Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) launched the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure project to build an ultra-high speed
information highway that will greatly improve the speed, affordability and
accessibility of broadband Internet throughout the country.

‍Mr Carlos Mayorico E. Caliwara

International case studies


Darryl Carpenter, Head of Integrated Services, Department of Internal Affairs
of New Zealand led a case study on New Zealand’s digital transformation. He
shared with his peers the country’s strategies, implementation, successes,
challenges and lessons learned.

spoke about how governments can enhance the digital capabilities to manage user
service requests. He emphasised that customer-oriented design thinking must
remain at the heart of all digital transformation activities and initiatives.

of the key principles Mr Carpenter shared with his peers include: (1) make the
complex simple, (2) put customers at the centre, (3) align the moving parts
including the authorising environment, culture of collaboration and
implementation, (4) innovate and adapt by leverage cultural norms, and (5)
deliver on the plan.

also talked about SmartStart
as an example of delivery by this method. SmartStart is New Zealand’s first integrated
government digital service. It’s a cross-agency initiative that gives parents
easy online access to information, services and support during pregnancy and
baby’s first years.

‍Mr Darryl Carpenter


her address to the Forum Ms Elizabeth Tydd, Information Commissioner and Chief
Executive Officer, Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) of New South Wales,
Australia pointed out that the world is experiencing a fundamental shift in
community trust.

to Commissioner Tydd, we are in transition from the old model where “elites
manage institutions for the people” to the new model where institutions are “working
with the people” and institutional silos are dissolved. In face of the
polarisation of trust, she iterated the importance of collaboration and social

She highlighted
that building public trust and ensuring the provision of good quality public
services are contemporary challenges facing governments. In this, she spoke
about the role played by open data in improving government service delivery and
building trust in institutions. A key role of open data is to help build trust
in government, and institutions generally. Through open data, citizens can
better engage with government and hold government accountable, helping build
trust and enabling a well-functioning democracy.

‍Ms Elizabeth Tydd


the Forum, Mr Roeland van Zeijst, Global Cyber Security Strategist of the
Netherlands, shared with participants the Netherlands’ strategy in

other speakers and experts, he highlighted the need for a paradigm shift in
cybersecurity in today’s fast-changing technology landscape. This include building
cyber resilience as an enterprise risk management strategy, the need to develop
practical techniques in offensive and defensive cyber operations, as well as
adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to deal with cybersecurity threats.

to him, the Netherlands adopts 5 key strategies in its cybersecurity efforts,
they are: (1) be prepared, (2) check defences, (3) let the white hats play, (4)
band together, and (5) customise.

‍Mr Roeland van Zeijst

Polling results and insights

the Forum sessions, participants were open to sharing their experience and
concerns as part of the interactive peer learning experience. During the event,
polling sessions were conducted to better gauge agencies’ interests and areas
of interest.


According to the polling results, over 70% of the agencies have an annual IT budget between US$1 to 15 million. Around 30% said they dedicate more than 10% of the IT budget for cybersecurity. IT infrastructure management is the largest outsourced areas of their IT services (34%).

Currently, over 41% of government agencies named cloud adoption and data management as their most important area of focus, followed by citizen-centric services (22%), cybersecurity (20%), data sharing and privacy (15%), and predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (2%).

43% of the participants indicated that their organisations are in the
implementation stage in updating their information security infrastructure. However,
nearly half of the agencies are behind schedule when it comes to implementing
their IT and Information Management Strategy.

top 3 main challenge organisations face are: insufficient in-house skills
(21%), struggle to find the right IT partners (17%), and lack of funding (16%).
Participants also named legacy infrastructure (24%) and the lack of innovation
culture (24%) as the two biggest challenges their organisation face this year.


terms of cybersecurity, the top 3 risks named are employee negligence or malfeasance
(38%), outdated systems and software (22%), and oversight of basic security
practices (14%).

adoption of cloud solutions, half of the agencies are using hybrid cloud.
However, over 40% of them considered security the biggest challenge in using cloud,
followed by budget and procurement (23%), and compliance issues (16%).

achieving policy objectives, most agencies opted to change organisational
culture by creating a conducive environment to promote innovation, as well as
upskill internal resources and capabilities.


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