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Towards a truly digital Philippines

A truly Digital Philippines is the vision of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Digitalization is no longer an option, but a necessity in order to achieve our development goals.

From the onset, the President’s directive is to ensure universal connectivity as this will be a vital component to ensure that no citizen is left behind.

During the recent Telco Summit, President Marcos reiterated his administration’s goal of achieving a more connected and genuinely digital Philippines. He stressed that connectivity is exceedingly important for an archipelagic country such as ours so that isolated communities can now be connected to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

Improving connectivity means even those in far flung areas, those in rural areas, do not need to go to urban centers to access government services. With improved and reliable internet connectivity, citizens all around the country will have the capability of doing business with the government without having to go to the main offices.

In this light, the government is doubling efforts to provide mobile and internet services to the most remote parts of the country, aggressively implementing key programs such as the Broadband ng Masa Program, the Free Wi-Fi for All Program, and the establishment of the National Government Data Center.

Digitalization is also crucial in promoting ease of doing business. The goal is to have a truly citizen-centric, inclusive, and sustainable e-governance ecosystem. This was the theme during the National ICT Summit last October that was organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), together with the Chief Information Officers Forum, Inc (CIOF) and the CIOF Foundation.

In line with this, President Marcos said that the government will facilitate the swift passage of the E-Governance and E-Government bills, which will serve as the framework with which we will digitalize our government.

DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy is a firm supporter of e-governance. He wants a streamlined and efficient government that will remove repetitive processes and ensure that citizens do not waste long hours on public services alone.

Recently, the DICT inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with partner government agencies—the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Landbank of the Philippines, GSIS, SSS, and the Mindanao Development Authority—to push for an integrated government approach in terms of E-Governance.

Among the DICT’s flagship programs involved in the initiative are the systems development, implementation, and integration of E-Local Government Units (ELGU), E-Government Application (EGovApp), EGovpay, E-Travel, E-Cloud, among others.

Secretary Uy, whose motto for e-governance is “Get online, don’t get in line,” stressed that these projects are in place to provide a 24/7 government that aims to foster better engagement with our citizens.

We still have a long way to go in terms of digitalization, and the President reminds us that we only have six years to make a difference. In that short time that we have, Secretary Uy and the DICT team are determined to work hard and double time to realize the vision of a truly Digital Philippines.

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