Go presses for faster e-government rollout amid COVID pandemic
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher Go yesterday pressed for faster rollout of the electronic governance (e-governance) sector to ensure a more responsive public service amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Go urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology and other concerned agencies to prioritize developing e-governance systems and transform government processes to make the government more efficient, accessible and responsive to the changing times.

“During these times where nearly everyone is transitioning to online, from e-governance to e-commerce to online learning, it’s important that our country will not be left behind in transitioning to the digital age,” he said.

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

“Because of COVID-19, transactions that used to be done face to face must evolve. So it’s important that the government also transition. 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,” he said.

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

He said Filipinos have long complained of the red tape in the bureaucracy that hampers the delivery of basic services.

He added that despite the fact that most regular private and public operations have been put to a halt due to the pandemic, the need of the people to transact with government and avail themselves of help continues.

Information and communications technology should be harnessed to create not just a new normal but a “better normal for our countrymen,” the senator stressed.

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

“Due to the pandemic, G2G 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,” he 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.

Filipinos who need to transact with the government for public services will not need to go to physical offices if G2C e-governance platforms are available, according to the senator.

He also stressed the need to build e-governance capacities in G2B transactions to ensure that the economic activity in the country remains seamless amid the current pandemic.

Go, however, said such undertakings would 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,” he said.

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