PBBM assures urgent certification of e-governance bill

In line with the administration’s agenda of driving the country’s digital transformation to better serve the Filipino people, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has committed to certifying the proposed E-Governance Act of 2022 as urgent. This was assured by the President last 12 January in his meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council’s  Digital Infrastructure Sector.

During the meeting, the PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector shared with the President the progress and success of initial collaborations with government agencies. The group also provided additional proposals, with Marcos accepting the recommendation to certify as urgent the e-governance bill currently pending in the House of Representatives.

The E-Governance Act of 2022 was introduced as House Bill (HB) No. 3 last June 2022 by House Speaker and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Representative Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, and Tingog Sinirangan Party-List Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

The bill is pending at the House committee level. Its certification as urgent will expedite the traditional time between second and third readings, allowing it to be read, debated, and passed on the same day, jumpstarting the nation’s digital transformation.

“The certification as urgent of the E-Governance Act is a vital step in the right direction toward becoming a digital nation. It also provides the impetus to the PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector’s work plan. We are encouraged by the President’s commitment to shaping a future-ready nation and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on every Filipino,” said PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector Lead and Union Bank of the Philippines Chief Technology and Operations Officer Henry Aguda.

The proposed Act institutionalizes the transition of the government to e-governance. The State would adopt a policy to create, foster, and sustain a digitally empowered and integrated government that provides responsive and transparent online citizen-centered services for a globally competitive Filipino nation.

In its explanatory note, the bill also “encourages government cooperation with the private sector in providing resources, assets, and services, and transforms agency operations by utilizing best practices from public and private sector organizations.”

Since the bill’s introduction in the House, the PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector has provided several proposals to augment the E-Governance Bill. The recommendations total seven:

First, incorporate the creation of an enabling environment to foster innovation and promote and support emerging technologies and start-ups.

Second, integrate further inter-agency efforts and integration in citizen frontline delivery of services.

Third, include the education sector in the policy landscape, and ensure collaboration between the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the education agencies in the development of curricula for the ICT Academy established under the Act.

Fourth, make government digital payment systems a two-way system by introducing digital disbursement services. Furthermore, allow the use of private payment and disbursement systems.

Fifth, require a Chief Information Office in every government agency as well as establish the position of a national Chief Information Security Officer.

Sixth, promote data sovereignty alongside the expansion of National Government Data Centers, ensuring that the data of Filipinos are for Filipinos.

Seventh, institutionalize public-private partnerships on e-government to leverage expertise and speed up implementation.

All seven recommendations were accepted by the Technical Working Group formed by the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology and incorporated in the forthcoming substitute bill.

PSAC is convened by Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin Aboitiz. The PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector was formed to provide Marcos with practical recommendations that promote wider internet access and advance digitalization initiatives.

The Sector is led by UnionBank Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda, who is joined by members PLDT President and CEO Al Panlilio, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Converge CEO and Co-Founder Dennis Anthony Uy, and Bank of the Philippine Islands Chief Operating Officer Ramon Jocson.

 


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