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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

E-governance: Bridging the gap between community, government

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In today’s digital age, where technology fills every facet of our lives, governments embrace e-governance to transform how they interact with citizens and deliver services.

E-governance refers to utilizing information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance various aspects of governance. It encompasses a wide range of applications, from delivering public services through online platforms to facilitating communication with citizens through online platforms and social media.

The Philippine government has actively promoted e-governance since the early 2000s, with several key initiatives shaping its current landscape. The E-Government Masterplan 2022 outlines the vision for a “One Digitized Government, One Nation,” aiming to improve public service delivery, increase transparency, and foster citizen participation.

Prioritizing e-governance

Digitization and e-governance are among President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s priorities. Seeing the president’s dedication to improving this sector, the Department of Information and Communications Technology took the necessary steps to create the platforms to meet the goals.

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The DICT developed a national e-governance platform called eGov PH to connect the public with the Philippine government through smartphones.

eGovPH simplifies transactions between the government and citizens by integrating the multi-sectoral government through a one-stop online system that will minimize economic costs for the citizens.

The platform also adheres to several laws to ensure its efficiency and goals.

The DICT designed eGovPH according to Republic Act No. 11032: Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 to pursue a whole-of-government approach as the department seeks to partner with every member of the government body for an enhanced and stronger service to the citizens.

Another e-governance medium from the DICT is the eLGU, a one-stop system combining all local government unit (LGU) services such as business permit licensing, notice of violations, a notification system, community tax, health certificates, local civil registry, business tax, and real property tax.

Numerous LGUs have already implemented the Business Permits and Licensing System under eLGU.

The tourism industry also has an e-government platform from the DICT, known as the eTravel system, a one-stop electronic travel declaration system. It has so far served millions of passengers.

Using the app, passengers would need only to complete their declaration in a single app rather than having to fill up multiple documents in the past, such as the arrival card, local airport or seaport forms, tourism form, customs form, and health declaration form.

Availing e-government services, or government services in general, requires payment to sustain it. While previous payments include going to the site physically or over-the-counter options such as bayad centers and banks, the eGovPay is a secured one-stop government payment gateway available for users of digital payment systems such as online and typical banks, e-wallets, e-cards, cash payment systems, and kiosks, which makes the payment process more straightforward.

It provides easy integration, automated reports, transparency, and reduced costs.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government also has a cloud system called the eGovCloud. It promotes cloud computing as the preferred technology for government administration and the delivery of government services. Through it, government agencies can access a centralized cloud system rather than multiple data centers, making the process more standardized, cost-effective, secure, efficient, and compliant to promote better decision-making.

The success of these e-government platforms can be determined by the number of people it serves efficiently. As such, the government values feedback from the public. Here’s where the eReport, or the People’s Feedback Mechanism mobile app, comes in handy.

It allows the public to file a report or feedback to the government, and they can choose from eight categories: red tape, overpricing, child abuse, women abuse, accident, fire, crime, scam, and other concerns.

Top-performing e-government initiatives

Throughout the Philippines, local government units utilized e-government measures, receiving the appropriate recognition from the DICT.

One award from the DICT is the Digital Governance Awards (DGA), which recognizes the outstanding practices of local government units that effectively deliver public services using innovative ICT tools, solutions, and approaches.

For instance, the Quezon City QC eServices earned praise for empowering its citizens through a consolidated platform where users, particularly Quezon City residents, can access various government services, from securing permits to acquiring valid IDs, with just a few clicks.

Besides streamlining and digitizing government services, e-government platforms allow users to access other services from within the city to improve their lives, such as health and livelihood.

Last year’s DGA named Agusan del Sur Province’s Integrated Hospital Operations Management System, an information system geared to automate hospital processes and transactions, ushering in a streamlined delivery of health services to the public, as the winner.

Find Jobs: La Union Employment Portal of La Union Province, a job portal launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic that allows direct application to employers, won second.

The LGUs’ initiatives show how digitization provides easy access to services that promote public safety and economic growth.

Benefits of e-governance

At its heart, e-governance goes beyond merely digitizing forms and records. It represents a fundamental shift towards a more efficient, transparent, and citizen-centric governance.

For governments, it translates to increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Streamlined online services reduce administrative limitations, while data-driven insights enable better resource allocation and policy formulation.

Moreover, e-governance promotes transparency by making government information readily accessible, fostering public trust, and reducing the potential for corruption.

Its advantages for citizens are equally significant. E-governance empowers individuals by providing convenient access to essential services anytime and anywhere. This convenience translates to time savings and reduced frustration, fostering a more positive relationship with the government.

Additionally, online platforms facilitate citizen participation in decision-making processes, enabling voices to be heard and contributing to a more inclusive democracy.

While the national government and various LGUs established e-government platforms across different sectors, there’s still much to accomplish.

Fortunately, they remain as determined as ever to equip the country with digitized services to make things more accessible for everyone.

E-governance in the Philippines is a transformative journey with the potential to revolutionize how citizens interact with the government.

By embracing technology strategically and addressing existing challenges, the Philippines can leverage e-governance to build a more efficient, transparent, and inclusive nation for all.

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