Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday emphasized the need to digitize government processes and transactions as the country adapts to the new normal towards pandemic recovery.
He cited a survey revealing that the vast majority of Filipinos believe that digital technology can improve business and employment creation.
“We need e-governance to provide our people with the services they need from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. Not only shall it enable our bureaucracy to better transition into the ‘new normal’ but it will also cut or minimize red tape and corruption,” Go explained.
The survey conducted by Social Weather Stations for the Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies in October this year, showed that about 89% of Filipinos recognized the advantage of digital technology in the creation of jobs and businesses.
The respondents agree “more overwhelmingly,” with 94% agreeing that digitalization has a lot of advantages, according to the research group.
Meanwhile, 92% of the respondents said that the government should create, upgrade, and expand the country’s digital infrastructure to increase speed, dependability, and access across the country.
Some 82%, on the other hand, said that the government and private sector collaboration can boost the growth of the economy.
In July 2020, Go filed Senate Bill No. 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020. This mandates the government 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.
Under the measure, the government, both national and local, can also enter into contracts, agreements, or partnerships with the private sector to provide various resources, assets, and services in order to comply or enhance compliance with the provisions of the proposed law.
All contracts or agreements with the private sector will be subject to the laws and rules on public accountability and transparency and good governance.
The measure likewise pushes for the digitization of paper-based and other traditional modes of workflows for a more efficient and transparent public service.
Go said the transition of the government to the digital age has been a long time coming.
“In an age where almost everything can be done online and through other digital platforms, the government must harness the power of information and communications technology to better serve its purpose and bring the government closer to the people,” Go said.
The senator also mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic “highlighted gaps, both foreseen and unforeseen, in the delivery of government services in the country.”
He added that major government social services and programs are also being forced to shut down, limiting the public’s accessibility to public services at a time when the same are needed the most.
“The new normal warrants the government to consider and adopt, in a very radical but pragmatic way, the importance of digital transformation and use of electronic services and platforms to enable the government to do better,” said Go.
In support of this endeavor, he said that his measure will promote such a transition to digitalization, eliminating delays and other problems associated with the traditional way of governance in communications and resource and information sharing.
More importantly, Go stressed the public will feel that the government is actually and truly at their fingertips.