Gov’t to spend P12-B for digitization next year

The Marcos administration has allotted P12.5 billion for the transformation and digitalization of government processes and transactions next year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

During the Development Budget Coordination Committee Briefing at the Senate on Wednesday Sept. 14, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the funding proposal is in line with President Marcos’ digitalization transformation plan.

The 2023 National Budget emphasized the importance of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the new normal, Pangandaman said.

Asked about how much of the 2023 fund will boost the capacity of government agencies, particularly in collecting fees and taxes in digital channels, Pangandaman said, “For 2023, we have a total budget for ICT and digitalization, 12.47 billion.”

“This is across the national government agencies. And for the 2023 budget, we included a section on digital payments of government financial transactions. This is related to the Executive Order No. 170 signed by then President Duterte – The Adoption of Digital Payments for Government Disbursements and Collections,” she added.

The DBM chief likewise noted that the implementation of digitalizing government frontline agencies is well underway.

“The IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) has been crafted and it’s been prepared by the agencies and now, it’s undergoing consultation. So hopefully, in a few weeks, we’ll have the IRR. And we’ll push for the digitalization,” Pangandaman said.

Of the P12.47 billion, the Department of Information and Technology (DICT) will receive the largest allocation amounting to P4.24 billion for its ICT systems and infostructure development.

Meanwhile, the Department of Finance (DOF) comes second with P3.56 billion, which is seen to help improve revenue collection.

Digitalization of government processes and transactions was discussed by several senators and the government’s economic team as the transformational program will surely afford many Filipinos quick and responsive service delivery.

Earlier, Pangandaman said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs will receive P3.56 billion in 2023 to fund their digital transformation programs.

Pangandama said that the budget for the BIR and Customs’ digitalization efforts is equivalent to 28.6 percent of DBM’s P12.4 billion proposed budget for ICT projects throughout the bureaucracy.

“We will prioritize digitalization and accelerate digitalization transformation... the improvement of revenue collection through digitalization will also be a priority,” Pangandaman said.