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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Unified policy for gov’t digitalization pushed

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Finance Secretary Ralph Recto called for rapid government digital transformation, urging public leaders to work together on developing a unified policy direction.

Recto, on a speech delivered by Department of Finance assistant secretary Niño Raymond Alvina at the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Leadership Conference, noted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s emphasis on the swift integration of digital technologies across government agencies.

“Government offices must rapidly integrate digital technologies across the bureaucracy to enhance the ease of doing business, streamline processes, expedite responses and promptly deliver public services to our people,” he said.

Recto identified the Public Management Development Program (PMDP) as a key tool for developing a unified policy for digital transformation, equipping public servants with leadership and management skills to advance their roles in the development process.

He encouraged leaders to use the program to share best practices and identify strategies for achieving a “digitally-transformed and future-proof Philippine government.”

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Recto also noted the Department of Finance’s (DOF) progress in embracing digitalization. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) have implemented online tax payment and filing systems, along with modernized customs processes, improving tax collection, trade facilitation and the business climate.

“It underpins the government’s assurance of a reliable revenue stream. More significantly, it has been instrumental in delivering on the government’s promise of efficient and excellent taxpayer service, ensuring that the hard-earned contributions of our people translate into tangible value,” Recto said.

The BIR’s Digital Transformation Program aims to make the agency data-driven by utilizing advanced technologies, including the Online Registration and Update System (ORUS), Project 230X, Online Tax Clearance and the Electronic Invoicing/Receipting and Sales Reporting System (EIS).

The BOC has digitized 97 percent of its customs processes, including the One-Stop Electronic Travel Declaration System (E-Travel System), Overstaying Cargo Tracking System and National Customs Intelligence System (NCIS).

Recto also cited success stories across agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) digitalization program leading to a significant increase in registered corporations.

The SEC’s initiatives include the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Company (eSPARC), One Day Submission and Electronic Registration of Companies (OneSEC), Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC), Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST), Unified Company Database (UniComDB), and MC28 Submission Portal.

As of Dec. 31, 2023, more than 1.2 million companies and 6 million officers/incorporators have been recorded by the SEC into its UniComDB.

The Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) move to facilitate the buying and selling of government bonds through mobile devices has expanded financial inclusion for Filipinos.

“These examples only represent a fraction of the ongoing digital transformation initiatives within the public sector. The Marcos, Jr. administration is strongly committed to integrating such innovations into the entire government framework to help bring public services closer to the people,” Recto said.

He said the end goal is to harmonize and streamline public agencies’ digitalization initiatives to ensure that the government’s main clients—the Filipino people—receive the best possible service in the most efficient manner.

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