The Duterte administration has been busy harnessing the powerful tools of information and communications technology (ICT) to reinvent government and make it more responsive, accessible and accountable to the people, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Dominguez said ICT has been integrated into government processes to enable the economy to best adapt to the wave of disruptive technologies and be at the cutting edge of modern governance.
For instance, the TradeNet platform, which was primarily set up by the Department of Finance (DOF), aims to link 66 government agencies through a common database to minimize the cost of doing business in the country by reducing the processing time, number of transactions and required documents for import and export clearances, Dominguez said.
He said the DOF expects 20 government agencies to be connected to TradeNet by the middle of the year, and soon serve as the country’s link to the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), a region wide platform that would “immeasurably” enhance intraregional trade.
“As we embrace the inherent disruptions of modern technologies, we would soon be reinventing government itself to make it more responsive, more accessible and more accountable to its citizens. As they absorb and adopt emerging technologies, governments will never be the same again. We are prepared to take that challenge,” said Dominguez in a speech read for him by Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez at the 2ndAnnual Philippines OpenGov Leadership Forum held last week.
The DOF was recognized during the event for its efforts in establishing the TradeNet platform.
Dominguez said that besides TradeNet, the government has also launched three parallel initiatives that form part of its “comprehensive deployment of ICT to enhance governance efficiency.”
These are the 1) Government Cloud Service (GovCloud) launched recently by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to serve as the National Government Portal for all government information, transactions and services; 2) PHPAY platform initiated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to function as a centralized online payment portal, transactions ledger and reconciliation system; and 3) Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB), which is a search engine for all registered businesses in the country that will be available online for government agencies to verify records for business registration and permits.
“Over the next few years, be prepared to observe government processes change very quickly. Change has come. We fully intend to be at the cutting edge of modern governance,” Dominguez said.
He said GovCloud will help to significantly reduce red tape and corruption as well in applying for permits, clearances and other similar documents, while PHPAY will provide government agencies “a way to interface their service websites to payment facilitators, banks or credit card gateways, making it easier for private users to pay for permits or applications.’’
The PBDB, meanwhile, will bring together for easier reference the available information from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the local government units, he said. TradeNet uses the PBDB for verifying business information.
“All the efforts to build modern information and communications technologies into our processes will make both government and the economy ready for this century,” Dominguez said.
With modern digital technologies being the “anathema to inefficiency and incompetence,” Dominguez said the government must be prepared to make changes in the way the public sector does things.
Dominguez also relayed his congratulations to the people behind the OpenGov content platform and lauded them for their “great work” in disseminating information about e-governance and encouraging governments to be more efficient and accessible to the public through the adoption of new technologies.
“Your work in documenting and disseminating information about e-governance has been very helpful. It makes us aware of initiatives and best practices elsewhere. You prompt us to act with a little more urgency towards adopting new platforms that make our work easier and government more accessible to its citizens,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the Duterte administration’s programs in tapping ICT to improve governance will be matched by similar initiatives in the private sector to make transactions easier, simpler and more transparent.
“These will complete the e-governance ecosystem that will be helpful in building a strong, competitive and inclusive economy for our people,” he said.