As local government units (LGUs) strive to take the lead in digital transformation for the public sector, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the Senate to pass into law the bill assisting LGUs in shifting to digital and online services.
Angara said the government “cannot afford to be left behind” since the shift to digital and online services has accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senator said that while many LGUs have opted to maintain the status quo and continue with face-to-face transactions with their constituents, this has resulted to violation of social distancing protocols, such as what happened during the distribution of financial assistance during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.
“We witnessed how thousands of people had to go out of their homes and line up at designated areas in their respective LGUs to apply and receive their cash assistance,” Angara said.
“This was not only a labor-intensive and tedious process, but also created significant health risks on both the recipients and the government workers,” he added.
Angara recently filed Senate Bill No. 1943 or the proposed Local Information and Communications Technology (ICTO) Act, which seeks to create a new position of ICTO in all provinces, cities and municipalities across the country.
These ICTOs will manage the following: formulating and executing digitization plans for processes and public documents in their respective LGUs; develop, maintain, and supervise all other information and communications technology programs and services of the LGU (including partnerships with the private sector); and collate and disseminate information regarding ICT and the services of the local government to the public.
Under the bill, ICTOs will be required to have degrees from recognized colleges and universities, in information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, computer engineering, data science, electronics and communication engineering, or any other course that will be directly relevant to the job.
Incoming ICTOs would also be required to have three to five years of experience, depending on where they will be assigned.
“Digital transformation, I believe, requires that we rebuild our organizational structures, work processes, and cultural mindsets. Digital services are not add-ons, but rather, they are how our work processes are evolving to fit into the new world,” Angara said.
“Now is the best time to improve our digital framework for both our government and business sectors, as last year’s challenges have given us an opportunity to build anew,” he stressed.