A full digital shift in government operations is targeted as soon as possible which is an objective of Senate Bill (SB) 1738 or the E-Governance Act that Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III hailed as a game changer.
Switching to electronic governance (e-governance) will cut red tape, upgrade the delivery of services to the people and curb corruption in the government, according to Dominguez.
The bill, filed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, aims to institutionalize the transition to e-governance in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call during his 5th State of the Nation Address (SoNA) for the government to make all possible services available to the people from the comfort of their homes or workplaces.
Gov’t service speeds up
“It makes it easier for the citizen to deal with you, it makes it easier for you to deal with them. So this is an important move,” Dominguez said of Go’s bill.
According to the explanatory note of Go’s measure, the government will be mandated “to establish an integrated, interconnected and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government; an internal records management information system; an information database and digital portals for the delivery of public services.”
A counterpart measure, House Bill (HB) 1248, has been filed to “further improve the ease of doing business — and thus sharpen the country’s global competitiveness as an investment haven — while encouraging people to keep practicing physical distancing in the post-pandemic scenario by letting them transact official business without actually having to go to the various government agencies themselves.”
In his SoNA last 27 July, the President said e-governance “will enable our bureaucracy to better transition into the ‘new normal’ and cut or minimize red tape.”
BoC as model
Dominguez said the Bureau of Customs (BoC), which is now in the process of digitalizing its operations, is one good example of how e-governance can improve government services and spot potential irregularities in its operations.
Government will be mandated to establish an integrated, interconnected and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network.
He informed the President during the televised briefing that the bureau, under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, has put in place a “sophisticated system” that allows the monitoring from the BoC central office of all shipments entering the country’s main ports.
“(The BoC) is quite advanced in digitalization. It’s not yet perfect, but he (Guerrero) is moving towards that,” Dominguez said.