November 25, 2020

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Philippine government services going fully digital by 2022

The Full Digital Transformation Act of 2020 mandates all government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), instrumentalities and Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt a digital plan that aligns with the Philippine Digital Transformation Strategy 2022 as proposed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

The bill of full digitalisation of government services promotes a zero-contact policy and facilitates ease of procedures. All of this is meant to streamline government services in accordance with Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, Republic Act No. 11234,  the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act and other applicable laws.

Digitalisation is no longer just another trend, but it the way the world is heading to. This the rationale Senator Gatchilian emphasised in the proposal. Full digitalisation is the Philippine vision two years from now. This transformation will be achieved through business and wireless networks, resulting in higher efficiency and lower costs.

The lawmaker spoke about the e-Gov Master Pan and the related e-Gov and Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) programmess that have been launched by the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST’s) Information and Communication Technology Office. However, he believed that the Philippines has been slow in integrating digital technology to improve the delivery of services and experience a sense of modernisation in the country.

With COVID-19, digital transformation in the government has taken on a sense of urgency. Contract tracing and distribution of aid could be smoother if data is harmonised and digital systems are put in place more comprehensively. The proposed bill plans to harmonise collected personal data of Philippine citizens, businesses, land and transactions, among others. Further, it will open opportunities that will likely drive the government to invest in developing additional organisational capability and staff competencies.

With all these plans taking on urgency in the light of the pandemic, the government predicts it will be expedient to build a Digital Transformation Department to manage the ambitious and yet highly practical investment. The department would be expected to support and roll out the office’s digital transformation strategy.

With a future-ready mindset, The DTD is projected to shoulder responsibilities to promote and guide the onboarding and training of government personnel using e-Gov services.

Another plan is that the DTD monitor and adopt networking tools to boost the communication channels and feedback mechanism to the general public. To help the public monitor the status of their requests at any given time, the DTD will provide a system that allows and promotes coordination among various departments to ensure that workflows, responsibilities, and accountabilities are properly for tracking purposes.

He felt that it is the duty of government officials to encourage people to rise above dire situations. This is why this the best time for government authorities in the country to invest in technology to serve its citizens in a timely manner. Senator Gatchalian stressed that there is no reason to delay the drive to realise the full modernisation of government services to serve Philippine citizens – adequately, efficiently and securely.