LGUs’ role in PH digital transformation


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has made it clear from the onset that he wants digital transformation to be at the core of how we do governance. Serving the people effectively and efficiently now involves the use of technology — the pandemic has made it inevitable. In fact, the health crisis even made us realize that with technology, we have more ways, better ways to serve the people — providing them access to education, health consultations, livelihood opportunities, and even platforms for financial inclusion.

The thrust of the government is to ensure universal connectivity so that no Filipino is left behind; and use ICT solutions to improve the delivery of public services. But in order to realize this vision, local government units (LGUs) will have to play an active role.

To improve digital connectivity, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has the Broadband ng Masa Program that would strengthen the ICT infrastructure in the country to deliver fast, reliable and affordable broadband internet access. Under this program is the Free Wi-Fi for All Project, which now has almost 5,000 live sites. We are continuously launching free Wi-Fi sites in provincial areas through our regional offices.

The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) will increase total government capacity to 2,000,000 MBPS in the next six years which is 50x the current government capacity of only 40,000 MBPS. The Common Tower Policy, which aims to fast-track the deployment of common towers across all regions of the country, will pave the way for improved public access to ICT services as well as provide better coverage and a higher quality of service to the Filipino people.

On e-governance, the DICT has pushed for the consolidation of the E-Government and E-Governance bills that were filed before the two Houses of Congress. These measures will be crucial in transforming governance to one that is digital, anti-red tape, and efficient. The department also initiated the eGov Super App, which aims to become the single application that any Filipino citizen would ever need to avail of virtually all local and national government services.

Moreover, the DICT promotes investments through our ICT industry programs, which help cities and municipalities in the countryside become better suited to host IT-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) companies and nurture investments in the ICT sector. Our Digital Startup Development and Acceleration Program (DSDAP) helps cities by raising awareness and offering programs to guide and mentor enthusiasts to improve their respective startup communities.

The commitment of the DICT is to provide every Filipino access to vital ICT infrastructure and services; establish one digitized government for the nation; support the administration in fully achieving its goals; and be an enabler, innovator, achiever, and leader in pushing the country’s development and transition towards a world-class digital economy.

In all of this, our LGUs are our vital partners because everything is cascaded to our localities, the main players here are our LGUs who will implement the programs on the ground, and the main beneficiaries are their constituents who will feel more empowered when they gain better access to government services.

Ultimately, what President Bongbong wants is a better government that can efficiently provide the services that our citizens need and open opportunities for the growth of our communities and better life for our people. For DICT Secretary Ivan Uy, what he hopes to provide is a 24/7 government, one that does not sleep, always accessible; because, after all, serving the people ought to be round-the-clock, all year round. To realize this vision, we need our leaders on the ground. We need stronger collaboration with our LGUs to make ICT work for our people.