PBBM commits to certify E-Governance Act as urgent – PSAC

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President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has committed to certify the proposed E-Governance Act of 2022 as urgent during his meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Digital Infrastructure last January 12, the PSAC said.

“The certification as urgent of the E-Governance Act is a vital step in the right direction towards becoming a digital nation. It also provides the impetus to the PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector’s work plan,” PSAC Digital Infrastructure Sector Lead and Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Chief Technology and Operations Officer Henry Aguda said.

“We are encouraged by the President’s commitment to shaping a future-ready nation and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on every Filipino,” Aguda added.

According to the private sector group, the President accepted the recommendation to certify as urgent the e-governance bill currently pending in the House of Representatives.

The E-Governance Act of 2022 was introduced as House Bill (HB) No. 3 last June 2022 by House Speaker and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Representative Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, and Tingog Sinirangan Party-List Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

The bill is currently pending at the House committee level. Its certification as urgent, the group noted, will “expedite” the traditional time between second and third readings, allowing it to be read, debated, and passed on the same day.

The bill aims to promote better informed and data-driven decision making by policy makers; promote access to high quality government information and services across multiple channels; make the national and local governments more transparent and accountable; and promote use of the internet, intranet, and other information and communications technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen participation in government.

In its explanatory note, the bill “encourages government cooperation with the private sector in providing resources, assets, and services, and transforms agency operations by utilizing best practices from public and private sector organizations, both local and international.”

The explanatory note of the bill also highlighted that digitalization is the most efficient solution to the gap in the delivery of government services.

Since the bill’s introduction in the House of Representatives, PSAC said its digital infrastructure sector has laid down seven proposals to “augment” the E-Governance Bill.

The recommendations of the group are: to incorporate the creation of an enabling environment to foster innovation and promote and support emerging technologies and start-ups; to integrate further inter-agency efforts and integration in citizen frontline delivery of services.

The group also proposed to include the education sector in the policy landscape, and ensure collaboration between the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the education agencies in the development of curricula for the ICT Academy established under the Act.

Moreover, the private sector group proposed to make government digital payment systems a two-way system by introducing digital disbursement services. Furthermore, allow the use of private payment and disbursement systems.

Also among the group’s proposals is to require a Chief Information Office (CIO) in every government agency as well as establish the position of a national Chief Information Security Officer (CISO); to promote “data sovereignty” alongside the expansion of National Government Data Centers, ensuring data of Filipinos are for Filipinos.

The private sector group also recommended institutionalizing public-private partnerships (PPP) on e-government so as to leverage expertise and speed up implementation.

According to PSAC, all seven recommendations were accepted by the Technical Working Group (TWG) created by the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology and incorporated in the forthcoming substitute bill. -30-