Gov’t honors DICT’s digital signatures for permits and licenses

Published January 3, 2021, 5:00 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Government agencies and local government units (LGUs) will now honor the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)’s digital and electronic signatures for permits and licenses.

Last week, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and Commission on Audit (CoA) confirmed the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) digital and electronic signatures may be used for government permits and licenses.

“The future of government services will all be online,” says ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica.

“Digital signature technology should be embraced and adopted to enable the complete online performance of government services in our agencies,” he explained.

Furthermore, COA’s affirmation on the validity and acceptability of these digital solutions for government services would allow agencies to confidently and decisively proceed with their automation programs, Belgica stressed.

However, improper use of digital and electronic signatures will be penalized, the COA warned.

Hence, users have to comply with the requirements of the Electronic Commerce Act or R.A. No. 8792. 

ARTA also pointed out substantial differences between a digital and an electronic signature.

A digital signature assures the authenticity of the document signed, the identity of the signatory, and the signature itself. 

On the other hand, an electronic signature derives its validity from the intent of the signatory to adopt such as a mark as an authentic sign of his approval of a document.

Both types of signatures will be honored by the government to expedite the delivery of government services.

“We encourage government agencies and local government offices to avail of PNPKI digital signatures to enable our fellow public servants to complete their work transactions faster and more securely,” urged DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.

“This also improves the transparency and ensures the integrity of the documents we handle,” he concluded.