How do you ensure fast, transparent and efficient government services?
For the new administration, the key is getting Congress to swiftly pass the proposed E-Governance Act to allow the country to catch up with other nations in building a digital economy.
But how do you build a digital economy? You do that by (1) enhancing the country’s digital infrastructure; (2) improving the regulatory framework for innovation; and (3) ensuring cybersecurity and developing the country’s digital workforce.
Here’s what President Marcos Jr. recently said on the subject: “We have the tools. We have the knowledge. And most importantly, we have the people. All that is left to do is to have the will and the resolve to achieve it. I therefore call on all our fellow servant-leaders in Congress to help accelerate the approval of these bills once again.”
But the optimism is also tempered with a note of caution: “This assessment of our performance is, at the very least, worrying. We experienced actually a regression. In other words, other countries have progressed. We have not progressed quite as much and therefore have fallen down, fallen down the list of e-governance in different member-countries of the UN.”
The Chief Executive is convinced, however, that rapid digitalization could be accelerated in the country as our ICT professionals are among the best in the field and Filipinos are among the most tech-savvy people in the world.
“There is, essentially, nothing holding us back,” he pointed out.
The reality now is that the Philippines ranks 89th out of 193 countries in a recent United Nations E-Government Survey that assessed the digital connectivity landscape across member-states.
That rank tells us very clearly that we do need to hasten the pace of digital connectivity.
That dismal situation can actually be reversed by allowing the private sector to enter into more partnerships with the government in the area of information and communications technology or ICT.
In fact, the government-private sector partnership can optimize the opportunities provided by ICT for nation-building.
It is true that as the rest of the world recognizes the value of digital connectivity in nation-building, the Philippines must accelerate efforts in forging digital connectivity to transform the lives of Filipinos, particularly those living in remote municipalities.
Information and communications technology has the power to transform the lives of Filipinos for the better.
Digital connectivity can help the government ensure the efficient delivery of vital social services such as education and health to the masses, reduce poverty incidence, and ultimately bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.