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DICT Chief Ivan Uy wants a gov’t that does not sleep

A government that is accessible to the public any time of the day, any day of the week. This is the vision of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John E. Uy.

A passionate advocate of e-governance, Secretary Uy said that simplifying the process through digitalizing government services will make it less painful for our citizens to access public service. He added this includes making government services accessible even at night, on weekends, and holidays — in other words, a government that does not sleep.

Secretary Uy is aware that this will not be an easy task, but one that is not impossible. He said that many of the processes can be done by artificial intelligence (AI). Although in some instances human intervention would be required, at least most of the clerical work has been shifted to AI and that would shorten application time and process and prevent long queues.

DICT priorities

He stressed that the DICT is working on digitalizing government services to improve government productivity and efficiency in terms of delivering public services. For instance, the development of the National Government Data Center (NGDC) would provide faster and reliable data exchange among agencies at a lower cost. This is aimed toward greater efficiency as data centers serve as a fundamental aspect of an e-government system.

Moreover, the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure — a 240-kilometer fiber corridor that will connect the government-owned cable landing stations (CLS) in Baler, Aurora and in Poro Point, La Union — will increase government internet capacity by 50 times. The current government capacity of only 40,000 MBPS, will increase to 2,000,000 MBPS.

Bridging the digital divide by ensuring universal connectivity, is another priority of the DICT. Although a daunting task, Secretary Uy said that new technology, such as satellite connectivity, will allow government to provide connectivity to unserved and underserved areas in the country.

DICT SECRETARY Ivan John Uy and SpaceX Executive Rebecca Hunter show members of the press the Starlink device and router.

SpaceX’s Starlink, a satellite internet constellation, is expected to connect rural and remote communities where connectivity is unreliable or completely unavailable, or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs). Through this initiative, Filipinos from remote areas can have access to education, health services, and online banking, among other digital needs.

Secretary Uy has also stressed on the importance of digital literacy, proficiency in the use of technology and digital information, which is also critical in bridging the digital divide.

In line with this, the DICT hopes to include digital literacy, or cyber hygiene, in the school curriculum. Secretary Uy said this will help in protecting citizens from cybercriminals.

Fit for DICT

The world is innovating at a high speed and digitalization has become even more crucial in more aspects of people’s lives, in governance, in the economy, and in nation building as a whole. For a developing country like the Philippines, universal connectivity is a big challenge. But with a very qualified individual who has a strong passion for public service at the helm of DICT, we see faster progress in this aspect.

Secretary Uy previously headed the then Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). Meanwhile, as the chief information officer (CIO) at the Supreme Court during the term of then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., he led the High Court’s digital transformation.

His expertise in technology law and comprehensive experience in information technology project management are vital assets in the government’s goal of achieving digital inclusion.

Secretary Uy has a clear vision of what he wants the DICT to accomplish and he emphasized on this during his first address to DICT employees upon his assumption of office, “We in the DICT have a very peculiar mandate, and that mandate cuts across all government agencies — to ensure that through ICT, we will be able to deliver to the Filipino people a better government, a more efficient government, a government that is easier to transact with, a government that is more competent, and a government that is not corrupt.”

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