If there is one “good” thing that the pandemic has done, it is that we were “pushed” to use the internet to work, study, purchase goods, and even pay bills. The dominance of the digital economy is always a given futuristic scenario, but the pandemic has made its significance earlier than expected. And by the looks of it today, we are not going back to the way things were before.
Filipinos are now utilizing digital tools for their day-to-day lives — using an app to get a ride, tapping on a screen to order food, or activating a videoconferencing program for meetings. Companies are leveling up, too, using the boundless benefits of technology to produce new products or services, and to reach out to regular clients and new customers. There is, however, one segment of our society that is still far behind — government.
The reality is that there are government agencies in the national and local levels that are still using the pen-and-paper approach. Some say that there is nothing wrong with these time-tested methods, but surely, technology can play a role in streamlining processes, managing data, and making auditing more efficient. Instead of going to the city hall or the government agency to line up, one can do online transactions at home. It saves time, effort, and most of all, money. Online transactions can also cut red tape and eradicate the need for fixers.
This is the reason perhaps why the Marcos administration is bent on fast tracking the digital transformation of government — converting traditional governance into e-governance, where the “internet of things” is part of the way services are provided to customers, which means us, the 110 million plus Filipinos.
The President stressed once again the importance of digital transformation during the National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Summit 2022, held last Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, at the Manila Hotel. Digital transformation, he said, will enable the government to provide fast, transparent, and efficient services to the public.
“(We have) to take full advantage of the new technologies and techniques to provide the Filipino people the best services they deserve…. (We have) to make the way we do business, the way that we work, the way that we communicate with one another, efficient, streamlined, and as affordable as possible,” said the President. “This summit is apt and timely for what we will discuss will be instrumental not only in improving our global standing, but most importantly, securing the Philippines’ place in the future.”
The President admitted that there are a lot of challenges ahead, considering the country is ranked 89th out of 193 countries in the UN E-Government Survey. More work is needed and we have to “play catch up” in terms of digitalization.
“It is simply not the way that the modern world works. We have to digitalize if we are going to keep up all our plans for the transformation of the economy and our continuing redefinition of the Philippines’ place in the community of nations.”
The administration is not waiting for things to happen as it is calling on Congress to immediately pass the proposed E-Governance Act. It is also calling on the private sector to assist the government through public-private partnerships.
As a nation filled with social media users, where connectivity to the internet is growing by leaps per day, digitalization is now front and center. If the government doesn’t catch up to keep up with the digital times, then it is bound to fail on all fronts.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph