DICT Chief: Phl needs integrated digitalization to accelerate economic recovery and growth

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Department of Technology and Information Secretary Ivan John Uy during the ECCP Luncheon Meeting held last November 25 (Photo from THEPHILBIZNEWS/MAS)

By Monsi A. Serrano

Cognizant of the need for accelerated and integrated digitalization to complement the ease of doing business, Department of Technology and Information Secretary Ivan John Uy reveals his plan to embark on digitalization in both local and national government.

Speaking during the Eurepean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Luncheon Meeting with Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, he agreed that the need to have infrastructure that would pave the way to delivering service to the public is an urgent concern that must be addressed under his leadership.

“We have a massive potential as a country to entice more foreign investors to do business in the Philippines. We have the ease of doing business, but on the ground we need to have an infrastructure that would hasten the digitalization of both local and natioonal government,” the DICT Chief said.

“It is our mandate to make sure that the delivery of service to the public is efficient and make them know that we (DICT) are here to deliver to the Filipino people a better government, an efficient government where the people can transact easily with the government to curb corruption,” Uy said.

The DICT Chief also noted that it is a bit challenging in the local government to sustain the digitalization program.

“We at the national government want to be aligned with the local government in terms of digitalization. The challenge in the local government is the continuity,” he said.

He explained that in the local government, when the past mayor is no longer reelected, it is likely that the successor won’t continue what his predecessor has done even if this is really good, like in the digitalization program of the partcicular local government unit.

“Every three years, there is a local election. The sad reality which should not be the case is, new mayor will likely ditch out the program of his predecessor no matter how good it is, especially in the business registration and renewal, and other services needed by their constituents. But this should not be the case. There must be continuity, to ensure resources are not wasted,” he explained.

Roadmap for Phl’s digitalization

While the DICT Chief shared his observations about what happens in the local government unit in terms of the digitalization initiatives of the local executives, he also admitted that the national government agencies are supposed to be the one to set example in terms of digitalization.

“For us in the national government, we have to ensure that the digitalization is being implemented to make sure the efficienct delivery of service to the public. We cannot tell the LGU to be fully digitized in their business transaction if we in the national government are not ready,” said Uy.

“There should be seamless interfaces of transactions, and that would be very convenient to the public we serve and at the same time draw more foreign investors,” he explained.

“More than being an archipelago with 7,107 islands, the digitalization of the Philippines is challenging, but not impossible. The connectivity is the key to digital transformation. It is achievable if the budget will really be allocated for this purpose (of digitalization),” he said.

“Budget is really the challenge, and we hope that our lawmakers will provide the budget we need to rollout the digitalization which is not just the priority of our president, but also his vision of ‘Digital Philippines’. The moment our issue on connectivity is solved, we can implement the digitalization in various government agencies and hopefully interface with the LGU to be seamless.

Unified Data in Phl

One of the issues that was tackled during the ECCP Luncheon Meeting with DICT Secretary is the data unification.

He said that part of the digitalization is the need for unified data in both national and local government. Uy pointed out that there is a need for centralized depository of data to esnure there is no disparity on the data of individual. He noted that the data in the possession of the national government oftentimes don’t much with the ones in the local government.

Date format must also be uniform according to Uy as part of the digitalization program of DICT.

It is a dauntaing task to unify the data. On the date format alone, each government agency use different formats. Unlike in other countries, like Europe for instance, the day/month/year format,” Uy pointed out.

In our case, one agency uses month/day/year format. But that’s not it. Say the month could be no zero for single number and the year is not in for digits but only two digits just using the last two digits of the year.

Again, it’s really challenging to make all the necessary changes in the implementation of the digitalization in the country and across all other government agencies. But that is our mandate, to heed and provide solutions and make better digital services and internet connectivity to achieve the “Digital Pilipinas” and make it a part of our legacy to get the Philippines’ full potential of the digital economy which serve as a driver for economic recovey and sustained growth.

“Challenging but not impossible,” Uy concluded.

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