CONGRESS was called on to swiftly approve a proposal that aims to develop, promote and interlink electronic government services and processes in all state agencies and corporations to ensure that the Philippines gets ahead of the curve in the “new normal” way of life under a post-coronavirus pandemic era.
According to Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, his House Bill (HB) No. 1248 or an E-Government system, "will 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.”
HB No. 1248 serves as a companion bill to HB No. 6623 or the proposed ‘New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020, which Villafuerte and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano recently filed along with 196 other House members.
HB No. 6623 aims to provide a “whole-of-society” approach to the “new normal” way of life anchored on strict mandatory safety and physical distancing protocols to prevent further coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) spread once containment measures are lifted and economic and social activities are back in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
His proposal under HB 1248 mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to craft and then implement an E-Government Master Plan, which has six major imperatives topped by the integration of the citizen frontline services of all agencies handling business registration, digitization of archives and records management information systems (MIS) across all offices, and adoption of an Internet-based electronic payment facility to enable people and companies to remit payments electronically to agencies.
Allowing people to transact with the government online will likewise minimize official corruption, said the deputy speaker for finance, as it will mean zero contact between applicants and government executives or employees in-charge of processing and issuing official documents.
HB No. 1248 aims for the State to develop and promote electronic government services and processes through inter-agency cooperation, as a way to expand opportunities for citizen participation in the government by way of ICT and other new technologies, in the post-pandemic environment.
Villafuerte said the promotion of electronic transactions across the bureaucracy jibes with his earlier proposal on the fast-track and full implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) project of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as it would be ideal for people to use their would-be National identification cards (IDs) in transacting with government offices.
The full implementation of both the PhilSys project of PSA and the National Broadband Program (NBP) of DICT are also required under HB