Go urges gov’t to transition to ‘better normal’ and provide more efficient service

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go has urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other concerned agencies to prioritize developing e-governance systems and transform the conduct of government processes to make government more efficient, accessible, and responsive to the changing times. 

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go (Office of Senator Bong Go / MANILA BULLETIN

“Sa panahon ngayon, lahat nagta-transition na to online — from e-governance, e-commerce, and also online learning. Importante na hindi po maiwan ang bansa pagdating sa transition to the digital age (Everyone is transitioning to online. It is important that we are not left behind in this transition to the digital age)," Go said. 

Go stressed that the necessity for e-governance in the country has been growing in light of the current COVID19 pandemic which limits physical mobility and face-to-face transactions among government offices, and between the government and citizens and businesses. 

"We should adopt more efficient, responsive and modern ways of transacting with our citizens. This will effectively make the government more in tune to the changing times,” Go said. 

Go said that e-governance will bring the government closer to the people in these times through modern platforms. 

“Matagal nang hinaing ng ating mga kababayan ang lumang sistema ng kalakaran sa gobyerno. Simpleng permit o lisensya, ilang araw inaabot at kailangang pisikal na pumunta at pumila pa sa mga opisina ng gobyerno. Hindi na po pwede ‘yan ngayon (Our people have lamented over the old system of governance where it takes them days to even get a simple document or license. This should not be the norm anymore),” Go said. 

“Gamitin natin ang teknolohiya upang mas maging maayos at komportable ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan at masigurong ligtas sila sa oras ng pandemya. Hindi lang dapat handa tayo sa ‘new normal’, kundi paghandaan natin na malatag ang ‘better normal’ para sa ating mga kababayan (Let’s harness technology to provide better service to our people. We should not only prepare for the ‘new normal,’ we should rather focus on the ‘better normal’ for our people),” he added. 

Go cited the various levels where e-governance will prove to be useful. These include government-to-government (G2G), government-to-citizen (G2C), and government-to-business (G2B) interactions. 

"Due to the pandemic, government-to-government processes, such as transactions between two government agencies, are heavily hampered because we are physically limited by the social distancing and quarantine protocols in place to contain the spread of the virus," Go said. 

"This will easily be resolved if we have e-governance platforms in place that will allow intra-government coordination and transactions to be done in an efficient, timely, and cost-effective manner," he added. 

Go said that Filipinos who need to transact with the government for public services will not need to go to offices if government-to-citizen e-governance platforms are available. 

He also emphasized the need to build e-governance capacities in government-to-business transactions to ensure that the economic activity in the country remains seamless amid the current pandemic. 

Go said these undertakings will not be possible without swift and reliable internet access in the country. 

“The Philippines ranked 63rd out of 100 countries in the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index conducted by UK-based The Economist Intelligence Unit. The Index assesses internet availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness using multiple indicators.” 

As one of those who pushed for blended learning in the country which ensures the continuity of education for Filipinos through online and offline modalities, Go also said that a speedy and reliable Internet connection is an important element in ensuring the success of these efforts.

 Go said that as early as the 2016 State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte has called on the DICT to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technology to improve Internet speed and coverage. 

“Have we addressed the President’s call? We want to find out the specifics, not just regarding the plans, but also regarding the progress we have made as a country when it comes to transitioning to e-governance,” Go asked.