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Philippines province launches online action centre

Governor Dakila Carlo E. Cua has launched the Quirino Province Online Action Centre (QPOAC) in the region to ensure that the provincial government can be reached 24/7.

The development of the QPOAC is part of the provincial government’s move to transition to “digital governance” in order to safely serve their constituents in the new normal.

According to a press release, the Governor said that the online action centre is public service that never stops. With limited mobility and the safety afforded by contactless transactions, going online and adopting a digital governance framework is no longer just an option–it is necessary.

He explained that the QPOAC aims to make the provincial government more open, more accessible, and more responsive to residents, ensuring that the provincial government can be reached even after office hours, on weekends, and during holidays.

The online action centre is easy, fast, cheap, safe, and secure––and it is the way to go in the post-pandemic world and the better normal, the Governor said.

With the QPOAC, residents can communicate their concerns, reports, complaints, or requests by private messages on the QPOAC Facebook page or by Facebook Messenger.

The centre is the first of many steps to be taken to digitise the Quirino provincial government, the Governor claimed. He also urged fellow local government executives to transition to digital governance.

The Governor, who heads the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), stressed the need for local governments to adapt and modify the services that are being provided so the people can safely transact with their local governments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Other government departments across the country are also going digital. The Bureau of Immigration-Philippine Economic Zone Extension Office (BI-PEZA) has launched an online appointment system.

In a social media post, BI said this is compliance with the social distancing requirement in all government offices. The appointment system will help expedite their clients’ transactions. Those who will make use of the online appointment system will also be prioritised.

OpenGov recently reported that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged all local government units (LGUs) to boost the digital economy and move towards digitised government transactions to reduce contact, impede further infection, and boost economic activity.

The DILG Secretary also directed LGUs to fast track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including, the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer, which has become part of the new normal, instead of physical payment.

Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay.

These methods have drastically changed online payments from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment.

Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges.

Meanwhile, best practices are being implemented in every LGU as part of their COVID-19 response initiatives, such as online disbursement of subsidies for senior citizens and online payment methods for businesses and real property taxes.

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