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Philippine Finance Sector Embraces More Digitalisation Initiatives

To better serve the public and strengthen its oversight roles and policy-making processes, the Department of Finance (DOF) has intensified its digitalisation programmes, which include promoting trade online and making tax exemption filing more convenient. The expanded Tax Exemption System (TES), which was superseded by the web-based TESlite, was one of the digital modernisation efforts conducted under Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III’s supervision. It is claimed that the programme has made applying for tax and duty exemptions easier and more convenient for importers.

The DOF, according to Dominguez, has also implemented the government-owned and controlled corporations’ liabilities and monitoring system (GLaMS), which is an upgraded web-based system for reporting and processing data on state-run firms’ debts and liabilities. The GLaMS includes information on national government-guaranteed loans, as well as loan status and other types of liabilities, contractual responsibilities, and other pertinent information about GOCC debts. GLaMS, according to Dominguez, expedited the GOCCs’ data reporting process by eliminating paper and allowing direct input from the GOCCs.

“This provides us a comprehensive set of debt data and other information about the liabilities of GOCCs to better assist the DOF in its debt analysis and formulation of financial strategies for these state-run corporations,” Dominguez said.

The DOF has built up a legislative management platform (LMP) to allow its employees to track the status of bills filed in the legislature, as part of its active engagement in supporting Congress in developing suggested improvements in the tax and financial systems, according to Dominguez. The LMP includes information on the DOF’s proposed reforms that require congressional approval, as well as other bills that require the Department’s input; pertinent papers; and schedules of Senate and House committee hearings for easy reference.

The Privatisation and Management Office (PMO) of the Department of Finance has also upgraded its operations, including improving its existing asset registration information system (ARIS) to incorporate the impending integration of additional information for legal issues involving specific assets.

The PMO also used a data analytics reporting tool to pull essential data from the ARIS and put it in an easy-to-read executive dashboard. The PMO also digitised its Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Database and updated and amended its Document Tracking System (DTS) to make it easier to keep track of all incoming papers that were acted on with the corresponding exiting document.

The PMO’s 2022-2024 Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP) has already been approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to support its computerisation efforts for the next three years, according to Dominguez.

OpenGov Asia reported, the Department of Finance (DOF) is urging the country’s financial technology (Fintech) firms to be properly regulated and taxed, while also fostering the sector’s development and innovation. FinTech, according to the SEC, is software, a service, or a business that uses cutting-edge technology to make financial procedures and transactions more efficient than traditional methods. The SEC and BIR need to keep a close eye on Fintech firms to see what new digital business models they are adopting to figure out how they should be regulated and taxed, according to the finance chief.

DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a statement that he has instructed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to collaborate to ensure Fintech companies follow the government regulations.

Moreover, Dominguez instructed the SEC to strengthen its PhilFintech Innovation Office, which acts as the first point of contact for Fintech firms seeking registration, as well as those that have been operating or are launching new Fintech products. He urged the SEC to prepare for a surge in Fintech operations and the several variations of its business models by increasing funding for Fintech-related programmes and staffing its PhilFintech office with young, technologically skilled workers, among other measures.

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